Questioning office reopenings as Delta surges

Businesses should consider further delaying office reopenings given the surge of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, both to protect public health and to improve employees’ psychological well-being, according to experts quoted in recent news reports.

Many large employers in the U.S. such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, have delayed their reopening plans as the Delta variant continues to spread, but other companies have not. An August 12, 2021, Quartz article examined the stress that some employees may experience as they head back to the office.

The article noted that while vaccines are good at preventing serious illness, they’re not as effective at preventing milder and asymptomatic cases and that not everybody is eligible to be vaccinated, particularly children under age 12 and people who are immunocompromised.

“A lot of people have somebody at home that they might worry about exposing,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

The good news, according to the article, is that many companies now have the infrastructure in place to extend remote work and some employees might benefit from such a move. “Employers have found they can be much more flexible than anybody believed they could be,” Levin-Scherz said.

Read the Quartz article: The psychological case for delaying office reopenings