Millions of workers in the U.S. continue to stay home and conduct business remotely. With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations still at unprecedented levels, many companies aren’t expecting to fully fill their office space until spring of next year. New data shows how a small increase in workers returning to the office in September and October has stalled in the country.
In data collected by Kastle Systems, the percentage of U.S. workers working in the office fell back to a low of roughly 18 percent in November. That’s the lowest it’s been since the pandemic began and businesses pushed to all-remote work in March and April. Throughout the summer and early fall, some businesses were partially reopening their office space and inching back to a potential full return. However, with another huge wave of coronavirus cases emerging during the fall, the consensus seems to be to scale back and wait until a total return to the office can be completed.
The arrival of several effective vaccines by the end of the year is giving companies hope that a return to normal office attendance can occur sometime at the beginning of 2021. However, some large corporations, like Microsoft, Facebook and Nielson, are making plans to permanently keep many positions remote regardless of whether offices are deemed safe again. It remains to be seen what the psychological effects of working from home for several months will have on the U.S. workforce. While many will be thrilled to experience the camaraderie and normality of being back in the office, others will undoubtedly have a new affection for a work-from-home routine that’s eliminated commute times and reduced work-related stress.