NEW YORK (AP) — Last year, companies around the U.S. scrambled to figure out how to shut down their offices and set up their employees for remote work as the COVID-19 virus suddenly bore down on the world.
Now, in a mirror image, they are scrambling to figure out how to bring many of those employees back.
Most companies are proceeding cautiously, trying to navigate declining COVID-19 infections against a potential backlash by workers who are not ready to return.
Many workers in high-demand fields, such as tech or customer service, have options amid a rise in job postings promising “remote work” — an alluring prospect for people who moved during the pandemic to be closer to family or in search of more affordable cities.
Tensions have spilled into the public at a few companies where some staff have organized petitions or even walkouts to protest being recalled to the office.
Many are introducing a gradual return, allowing employees to work remotely two or three days a week.
But implementing a “hybrid” workplace can be a headache, from identifying which roles are most conducive to remote work to deciding which days of the week employees need to be in the office.