As COVID-19 infections In parts of the United States, many jobs remain empty or work with skeleton teams.
Most agree that the decision to return to the office should include a combination of business, government, and medical officials, as well as scientists who have a deep understanding of COVID-19 and infectious diseases in general. The exact timing will depend on many factors, including the government’s willingness to open up, the experts̵
That doesn’t mean that every company that can open a will has a will, but if it gets the green light, it can at least start bringing back a certain percentage of its employees. But what that might look like is great uncertainty about commuting, population density, and distance in the office, the use of elevators, how much you can reasonably clean, what it could mean to put on a mask eight hours a day, and many other factors .
To get a feel for how tech companies see it, we spoke to a number of executives to get their perspective. Most couldn’t see a small percentage of employees returning to the office this year. To get a more complete picture, we also spoke to an infectious disease doctor and a government official to discuss their prospects on the matter.
Take it slow
While there are some guidelines that are designed to help companies, most of the executives we spoke to found that while they missed personal interactions, they like to behave slowly and are more concerned about endangering employees than it is in a hurry to return to normal operation.
Iman Abuzeid, CEO and co-founder of Incredible Health, a startup that helps hospitals find and hire nurses, said their company was half removed before the COVID 19 success, but the team has since been completely removed. Whenever the mayor of San Francisco grants approval, she says she’ll reopen the office, but the company’s 30 employees have the option to continue working remotely.
She points out that working at home has been very challenging for some employees. “I want to highlight two fairly important groups that need to be highlighted in this narrative. First, we have employees with very young children, and the schools are closed, so it is not really possible to work at home forever or even for the rest of the year. The second group are employees who live in smaller apartments. I have roommates and it is not pleasant to work at home, ”said Abuzeid.
These people have to go to the office whenever that’s allowed, she said. For Lindsay Grenawalt, chief people officer at Cockroach Labs, an 80-strong database startup in NYC, there must be a very compelling reason to get people back to the office at this point.