How the omicron variant of Covid-19 could impact return-to-office plans – .

How the omicron variant of Covid-19 could impact return-to-office plans – .

As scientists learn more about the omicron variant of Covid-19 and its arrival in the United States on Wednesday, business leaders are scrambling to understand how it could impact their workplaces, including plans for back to the office. Just as the delta variant has pushed back the reopening of offices to Labor Day 2021, the omicron variant could delay those plans further into 2022.
As a reminder, in response to the spread of the delta variant and within weeks in July, several of the most influential tech companies have postponed their return dates from September to October, while others have extended their deadlines to 2022. In the months that followed, businesses adjusted their reopens countless times.

Employees, meanwhile, are more empowered than ever during the Great Resignation and have pushed back against coming back in person during a pandemic, if at all.

With the emergence of omicron as the new year approaches, office reopening is once again on hold.

The good news is that the United States is already responding faster to the omicron variant because of what it has learned about the delta’s surge over the summer, says Dr. Denis Nash, professor of epidemiology. at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health.

This week, the CDC stepped up its recommendation for a Covid vaccine booster, saying all eligible adults should receive the extra dose.

Additionally, many of the improved workplace safety rules created in response to the delta wave are still in place today, such as vaccination requirements and regular testing, said Dr David Levy, CEO of the company. preventive health care EHE.

“We deal with rapidly changing facts and conditions”

There are still many unknowns about the omicron as researchers study its transmissibility, severity, and whether vaccinations will resist the variant. Scientists say we are weeks away from having a clearer understanding of the impact of the new strain on vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Businesses will likely stay on top of any plans to reopen or change their workplace health and safety policies until they learn more about the variant in the coming weeks, Dr Neal Mills said. , chief physician of the professional services firm Aon.

Companies could push back reopening dates if scientists find vaccines aren’t as effective in preventing serious illnesses caused by omicron. But Nash says he can “also envision a scenario where we learn in the coming weeks that vaccines remain protective against serious illness and death with the variant, which doesn’t delay the timeline.”

He says companies should remain flexible, including not forcing people to work on-site if they don’t have to or if they have lingering concerns in the months ahead. Notably, the World Health Organization claims that the delta variant still circulates widely and is responsible for most infections around the world.

Whatever happens, leaders need to communicate to employees that they understand uncertainty can cause anxiety, and they are taking steps to stay on top of the latest information before officially announcing any new Covid security plan. , says Nash.

Now is the right time for companies to reiterate the measures they are taking to increase workplace safety and well-being, whether workers have been on site for months or new people are returning for the first time in a decade. time.

Companies should also clearly state their contact tracing or quarantine protocol if a person is positive at work. And workplaces might consider instituting any necessary travel restrictions in areas with high transmission rates.

Levy urges employees not to be discouraged if their management message changes in the coming weeks: “People need to understand that in this business facts change, and that doesn’t mean the messenger lacks integrity, but we are dealing with rapidly changing facts and conditions. “

To verify:

Could the omicron variant of Covid impact your workplace? Here is what you need to know

Omicron variant of Covid poses ‘very high’ risk – here’s what you need to know right now

For many workers, returning to the office has become “The Big Expectation”. It costs employers millions

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