The Future Of Work From Home

Companies are eyeing a return to the office, while others are keeping a hybrid option.
Posted at 8:27 PM, Dec 02, 2021

While the coronavirus continues its spread, some workers across the country are still working from home.

Miranda Doyel says she now works remote, finding more productivity and a new outlook with remote work.

"I was a little nervous to see how the transition period would go, but I couldn't be more thankful for it," Doyel said. "I can work on the go, I can travel, I can work remotely from a beach or wherever life takes me and still be able to be efficient and get my job done."

But while some jobs are still done from home, other companies are navigating return to in-person work and hybrid policies.  

"Many companies have some form of hybrid, but it's no secret leaders want to move back to the office more quickly," Bhushan Sethi, global people and organization leader with PwC, said.

A PwC survey in August found a third of business executives questioned doing a mix of in-person hybrid and fully remote for the fall.  

"We're seeing more and more companies not change their policies, so if companies have been comfortable with remote work and make it optional to kind of ask for people to come in on a hybrid basis but not mandate it, they're going to continue that," Sethi said. "If they've pushed out their reopening dates to January, they may actually push them out further with this new variant."

Humana says it's closely monitoring developments with the latest variant. The company says the majority of its workforce is still working from home. They are planning for their return in January, but the company says it will offer various work styles.  

It said, "We believe that these work style offerings will allow us to attract and retain talent, enhance employee engagement and experience and strengthen our culture."

UnitedHealth Group encourages its team to work in whatever environment is best for them. 

Google already extended its voluntary return to the office policy to January. 

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has the same timeline and is also monitoring the situation closely.

Offices will be more flexible for those expected to return, but it's a challenge for companies.

"Executives are loath to actually make significant changes around return-to-work policy because we know flexibility is a weapon in today's tight talent market," Sethi said.

FlexJobs says the remote job market is stronger than it's ever been.  

"I think one of the big things we're seeing is that job seekers are feeling more empowered than ever before," Brie Reynolds, career development manager at FlexJobs, said. "More companies seem to be offering at least some sort of hybrid or fully remote option than are requiring everyone to come back into the office without any sort of remote work."

But like anything else, plans may vary by company and opinions may differ by person.

"Opinions differ on when the ideal time to return to work is, how much work should be hybrid and in person and totally virtual — everybody thinks something totally different, so it's been one of the hardest returns to track and navigate," Alyssa Meyers, a brands and marketing reporter with Morning Consult, said.