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Back to the Office

Empty Bay Area Street
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never miss viewpointsKerby Anderson

More than a year ago, I quoted a social commentator who argued that more and more employees would be working remotely. That is exactly what we are finding. In fact, employers are finding it difficult to get workers back to the office.

Notice the difference in employment statistics. Life is returning to normal at restaurants, airlines, and sporting events. They aren’t exactly back to pre-pandemic levels but approaching them. By contrast, companies with offices (especially in major cities) are having a difficult time getting people back to the office. This is due to the three C’s.

Commuting is one of the reasons. New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and San Francisco have some of the nation’s longest commute times. They also have some of the lowest return-to-the-office rates.

Crime is another reason. Office workers are concerned about crime and their personal safety. When a gunman killed a Goldman Sachs employee on a New York City subway, other Goldman office workers expressed their concern about coming back to work. Crime statistics for Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have risen.

Covid is also a concern. Office workers wonder why they should risk infection or reinfection when gas prices are $5 a gallon and crime is in the street. Even if they make it into the office, they discover that many of the people they need for a meeting are at home on any given day.

One survey found that two-thirds (68%) of office workers in North America said they would consider looking for another job if their managers insist they return to their workplace full-time. Most workers prefer a job that provides a mix of remote and in-person work.

The workplace in America will look very different for the rest of this decade, due in part to the pandemic and lockdowns.viewpoints new web version

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