With the finish line in sight after a months-long marathon of working from home, the COVID-19 Delta variant has caused major local employers to change course. Instead of employees returning to corporate offices in September, as was originally the plan for many local businesses, it seems the earliest start dates for some offices may (somewhat optimistically) be in October, while other companies have pushed back their return until January 2022.
Among the companies adjusting their plans for the coming year, Expedia has taken a more cautious approach, pushing back the return of employees to its Seattle headquarters until early next year. The travel company states that its offices are open for employees and guests who are able to come in, but any visitors must be masked and vaccinated.
Other notable employers pushing back their start dates include Amazon, with the tech giant also delaying its return until January 2022. Prior to this, Amazon had anticipated employees could return the week of September 7, but did not enforce a vaccine mandate among its employees. The company does require that employees in the office wear masks unless they can provide proof of vaccination.
Microsoft has also rolled back its return, but the company has only said that the return will not take place before October 4. Prior to this, Microsoft employees had planned to return to the office in early September. With the revised start date, Microsoft is requiring all employees to provide proof of vaccination — a policy mirrored by Facebook and Google.
One other major employer, Starbucks, had previously announced that its corporate employees will return to the office in October 2021. In addition to this, Starbucks retail locations are once again requiring masks for employees and customers.
Although the rise of COVID cases and shifting return-to-work goalposts are certainly cause for frustration, one thing seems sure — for the foreseeable future, remote workers should make sure their home office setup is comfortable.
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