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Masks, Mandates And Muddled Return-to-Work Messaging Bedevil Managers

Many office workers are strained and stressed about the ways the delta variant has upset return-to-office plans.

As corporations and companies pivot their back-to-work plans in the wake of evolving information around the delta variant, many workers are understandably stressed and strained over rapidly shifting rules and expectations around masking and vaccines. 

Many white-collar workers are on edge about the implications of being back in the office, The Wall Street Journal reported, and are wondering if they need to wear masks all day to protect against potential breakthrough infections. In response to both employee sentiment, the new transmissions risks of the delta variant, and the urging of leading medical associations, more and more companies have begun implementing vaccine mandates, including Google and Related Cos.

Changing mask mandates and rules have left some employees “emotionally drained,” and have caused some large companies to shift back-to-office plans to bring back smaller cohorts over time, instead of making larger, more sudden shifts in policy.

The increased anxiety over the variant only adds to the ongoing discussion over returning to work, remote work, and the need to create a supportive and healthy hybrid work environment. It’s also providing more time for workers to rethink how they feel about and use their own office space, and whether or not the desire for mentorship and connection outweighs the flexibility and better commuting experience that comes with remote work.