This Is How Much Longer You'll Be Working From Home, Doctor Predicts
Get cozy because it looks like you'll be using that home office for quite some time.
If you're not an essential worker, the coronavirus pandemic probably has you still working from home. While some people are eager to get back to the office after the past four months or so at home, others have grown to love attending Zoom meetings in their sweatpants. Although offices can reopen in many states, plenty of companies have chosen to keep workers at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And, according to Thomas Frieden, MD, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who've been living the WFH life can expect it to last a lot longer. Frieden predicts many employees will be working from home for another eight to 12 months.
Frieden spoke to human resource executives during a CNBC Workforce Executive Council virtual event recently and cautioned executives to "prepare for at least eight to 12 months of this situation." The reason people want to go back to the office is to feel a sense of normalcy again, but according to Frieden, "even with a vaccine, there is no going back to normal anytime soon."
It seems many companies have already been erring on the side of caution and putting off returning to the office for months, if not longer. Recently, Google announced they would not have employees back in the offices until July 2021 at the earliest, according to The Wall Street Journal. And many have followed in their footsteps. Amazon employees can work from home through Jan. 8, 2021, GeekWire reports. And Capital One workers were told they'll be remote through Labor Day "and possibly longer," according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, in May, Twitter gave its employees a similar option to remain remote, and Nationwide Insurance is shutting down many of its offices and also telling employees to work from home permanently.
Experts believe it's unlikely offices could return to business as usual before we achieve herd immunity, which is when a sufficiently high proportion of a population develops immunity to an infectious disease either via exposure or getting a vaccine. Michael Osterholm, PhD, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNBC that 7 to 9 percent of the U.S. population has had COVID-19, but we need at least 50 percent of the population to do so to reach herd immunity. On top of that, it seems improbable that a vaccine would be widely available for office workers to return to their cubicles anytime soon.
So, settle in for a year of working beside your pet in your pajamas. And for the states that are hitting a turning point with COVID, check out Dr. Fauci Says These 4 States' COVID Cases Are "Coming Back Down."