- Nearly half of 258 HR leaders polled by Gartner in a recent survey said they expect their workplaces to reopen in Q3 2021, and about one-quarter said their workplaces are aiming for Q4 2021. Separately, nearly half of 227 leaders said they will not track the vaccination status of their employees, according the March 25 results.
- Many said they will plan for a hybrid workforce; 59% of 241 leaders surveyed said they will let workers work remotely occasionally with manager approval, a 21 percentage point increase since November 2020.
- Only 1% of HR leaders surveyed said they expect all of their workers to work-full time in the office, Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice, said in a statement. "When offices reopen, many individuals will have been working from home for nearly two years or more and new ways of working will be engrained," he added. "It will be critical for employers to focus on building social and emotional connections with, and between, their employees again."
While a sense of normalcy may be returning to some areas as the coronavirus vaccines rollout, the reality of work may have changed permanently, various sources have said. Hybrid work will factor heavily into planning for 2021 and beyond, Gartner said in a January report, and may include employers deciding "what their corporate offices can offer employees that other spaces cannot."
Despite the speed at which change was necessary, organizations report feeling that the transition to remote work was largely a success for their companies, according to a January PwC report. Productivity remained high, and more than half of executives surveyed said productivity even improved in the shift to remote work — though employees noted that the office remains important for relationship building and collaboration.
In response, companies are building their own hybrid plans; Spotify, for example, announced in February it will let employees choose if they want to work at home, in the office or both.
But the shift to remote work was not met entirely with zeal. Younger workers, especially, may be more likely to face barriers to productivity while remote, a December 2020 Pew Research survey said, which means employers may need to ensure employee development programs are structured to keep workers of all backgrounds up to speed.