Career and Jobs

The Delta Variant Surge And New CDC Mask-Wearing Recommendations Could Crush Calls For Workers To Return To The Office

The Centers for Disease Control called for putting masks on indoors, and company plans to return to the office may be taken off. In light of the new Delta variant surge in cases, the CDC changed their opinion on masks, recommending that some fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they live in locations with high levels of the disease. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in an interview with CNN, “We’re not changing the science,” and “The virus changed, and the science evolved with the changing virus.”

According to the CDC, The U.S. has about 49.2% of the population fully vaccinated. There has been intense pressure exerted by the Biden administration and media to push unvaccinated Americans to get their shots in an effort to stem the spread of the disease. They’ve come up with a frightening rallying cry saying that we have “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” to instill fear and motivate the unvaccinated.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that new data shows the Delta variant acts “uniquely differently from past strains of the virus,” and “This pandemic continues to pose a serious threat to the health of all Americans.” One of her biggest concerns is that “the next variant that might emerge, we’re just a few mutations potentially away where it could potentially evade our vaccines.” 

President Joe Biden agreed with the CDC’s new recommendations and said he’d offer his “next steps” to get more Americans vaccinated. White House staffers and Vice President Kamala Harris put on masks. Harris said,  “People need to get vaccinated, that is the only way we are going to cut this thing off, nobody likes wearing a mask, get vaccinated.” 

This is a big problem for companies, particularly those organizations like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley that told their employees to return to the offices. Tech giant Apple, pushed back it’s hybrid model, which includes both in-office and at-home work, for another month in light of the Delta variant.

With this new development, it will be hard to convince workers to return to the office with the threat of catching the new strain. Studies have already shown that employees will contemplate quitting if  they can’t remain working remotely. The recent mask recommendations would offer a compelling reason to resist their company’s plans to go back to an office, which would be hard for bosses to overrule. 

After about a year and half working at home, it would feel uncomfortable masking-up, commuting into a big city, going into an office building and working in close contact with others all day long. The new fear may prompt even more health related rules and regulations at the office.

 It’s not an environment conducive to working. Employees would understandably be afraid. Corporations would be open to liabilities for pushing people to possibly endanger themselves. Companies would now most likely have to require their employees to get the vaccine to work in the office.

This doesn’t mean we’re in for another lockdown, although it could happen.  Even if the new wave of viruses doesn’t live up to the hype, corporate executives have little or no other choice than taking the safer route. If they ignore this surge, it could have devastating consequences for the workers who may come in contact with the virus while commuting or working in the office.

Investment banks based in New York City such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanely and JP Morgan told their people to return to their offices and may reconsider their plans. The Big Apple was the epicenter of Covid-19 during the early dark days of the outbreak. It doesn’t seem likely that workers will commute back to the City if there is a renewed health threat.

Workers have been resistant to returning to the office. They’ve pointed to childcare issues, public schools which may not reopen, mental health issues, the danger of commuting into a hotspot, walking crowded streets and being in close proximity to lots of other people. 

It’s been proven that employees were highly productive working from home. Studies show that remote workers put in longer hours well into the night and weekends. The amazing rise in the stock prices is a great indicator of how well companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook fared during the outbreak when their workers were at home. 

Now with the potential for a new wave, it would be tone-deaf to make people go back to the office. Even if companies pushed for it, employees would likely revolt and stay home. Compassionate leaders won’t want to gamble with the health and safety of their staff. They’ll likely have no other choice than telling workers to stay at home until there is greater clarity about the new strain.

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