Page 31 - BusinessWest March 17, 2021
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“It’s striking — we’re seeing a little “
bit of everything,” said Meredith Wise, As time has gone on, they’ve seen the productivity; they
president of the Employers Assoc. of see that the work is getting done, customers are being the NorthEast. “We have a number of
companies — like manufacturers — served, and people are happy. Now they’re saying, ‘maybe that never shut down and had employ-
ees come in the whole time. And we don’t need to have everyone in.’” we have companies starting to have
National Conversation
The same story is playing out nationally, with some companies plan- ning to remain 100% remote post- pandemic, while others — including big names like Microsoft — taking a hybrid approach, giving workers more flexibility about where they work. Other companies are clamoring to bring everyone back.
“It’s no longer, ‘do you offer remote work?’ but, ‘do you offer it with enough organizational support so I can be as successful as the people who work in the office?’” Andrew Hewitt, senior analyst at market research firm Forrest- er, told CNN recently. He expects about
   employees coming back on a sporadic
basis — maybe not five days a week,
but two or three days a week. Then “We found there are some real posi- others have said, ‘we aren’t even think- tives with productivity and being able ing about having employees back until to shut off some of the distractions,” he later in the year.’” went on.
One reason for that hesitancy is the Employees — especially those who fact that workers have not only adapt- have grown to appreciate working from ed to remote work, but have, in most home, and even prefer it — are think- cases, been as productive as they were
in the office. So employers are taking
their time bringing them back, looking
to state guidance and public-health
metrics to guide decisions.
“As time has gone on, they’ve seen the productivity; they see that the work is getting done, customers are being served, and people are happy,” Wise said. “Now they’re saying, ‘maybe we don’t need to have everyone in.’”
UMassFive College Federal Credit Union is one example of that phenomenon.
“We moved about 60% of our work- force home last spring, and it contin- ues to be that way,” said Craig Boivin,
ing similar thoughts, and that may pose a problem of pushback at some companies when they try to bring their teams back in. For now, in most cases, there’s no rush, but those days won’t last forever.
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    Craig Boivin
 vice president of Marketing. “We’re developing plans and processes for what this will look like in the post- pandemic world, but we’re not looking to bring people back until the state says it’s safe for large groups to gather indoors.”
During the exodus from office to home last March, he recalled, “I won’t say it was chaotic, but we had to make a lot of quick decisions at the senior level to make sure everyone had the equipment and support they needed
at home,” in addition to developing guidelines to ensure accountability and making sure everyone understood new (to them, anyway) communication tools like Zoom and Slack.
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