With the introduction of vaccines in late 2020, many were hoping for a return to something resembling normalcy in 2021. But instead they grappled with delayed re-openings, vaccine mandates and mask guidance, employee safety and hiring and retention struggles as the pandemic raged on. And the blows are still coming as we close out 2021. Covid cases are surging and the Omicron variant is forcing many companies to rethink their 2022 re-opening plans.
"This constant delay of office re-openings and [new] variants...no one at the beginning of the year thought by the time we got to the end of the year we would be in the same situation when it comes to Covid-related challenges," said Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner Human Resources Practice. He said that 67% of companies that went fully remote at the start of the pandemic have re-opened their workplaces -- with some workers coming in voluntarily -- and almost 30% are planning to re-open in the first half of 2022, while 5% plan to stay remote.