Work flexibility ‘here to stay’ in post-Covid world, says director of three Fortune 500 companies
Companies are monitoring the spread of the delta Covid variant as they adjust return-to-office plans and prioritize employee flexibility, a member of the board of directors of three Fortune 500 companies told CNBC on Friday.
“I think there will continue to be hybrid offerings.… The flexibility is here to stay, especially if you want to be competitive for talent,” said Shellye Archambeau, director at Verizon, Nordstrom and Roper Technologies. She is also a former CEO of MetricStream, which makes governance, risk management and compliance software.
Archambeau said concerns about reopening businesses are driven by the highly transmissible delta variant, first discovered in India. It is now the dominant strain of Covid in the United States and is causing a further increase in cases and deaths, especially in largely unvaccinated communities.
“Companies monitor data very carefully,” said Archambeau. “What I see is that they are trying to stay flexible, creating the ability for employees to come back to work while monitoring the numbers and changing rates.”
Archambeau’s remarks come as big companies try to find a way to get back to the office safely.
Few companies require employees to be fully immunized before returning to the office, Archambeau said. Instead, she said companies strongly encourage and try to make it easier to vaccinate employees, even voluntary returning to the office and encouraging mask-wearing and physical distancing protocols for unvaccinated workers.
According to a survey conducted in April by Arizona State University with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, more than 60% of companies in the United States will require proof of vaccination from their employees while 44% will require all employees to be vaccinated. and 31% will promote vaccines.
Archambeau, strategic advisor to the ASU president, said peer pressure will soon begin to play a bigger role in pushing employees to get vaccinated.
More employees can also return to the office when children are immunized, allowing them to continuously attend school, participate in in-person activities and rely on child care services.
“I think over time companies absolutely strongly encourage employees to get vaccinated,” Archambeau said. “The way they can work, the kinds of roles they can play, I think over time, will be affected by whether they get vaccinated or not.… People will want to be vaccinated. Vaccinated in order to be successful at the vaccine. within the company. “