Many employers are not making a decision until many workers are vaccinated. And some are making plans for “hybrid” work arrangements.
A year and a pandemic ago, over 100,000 people filled the central business district in Charlotte, N.C., pouring out of offices, including several recently built skyscrapers, and into restaurants, bars and sports venues. Then as the coronavirus sent employees to their homes, much of the city center quickly went quiet and dark.
The return of those employees to their offices has been halting and difficult. Last fall, Fifth Third Bank began bringing back workers, but soon reversed course. LendingTree, which is moving from the suburbs to the city, is waiting for the end of the school year. Wells Fargo has delayed its return to the office several times, telling its employees recently that they will continue to work remotely through at least May 1. And Duke Energy will bring some employees back in June, and most of the 6,000 people at its headquarters in September, when children should be able to go back to schools.
Corporate executives around the country are wrestling with how to reopen offices as the pandemic starts to loosen its grip. Businesses — and many employees — are eager to return to some kind of normal work life, going back to the office, grabbing lunch at their favorite restaurant or stopping for drinks after work. But the world has changed, and many managers and workers alike acknowledge that there are advantages to remote work.
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