After many starts and stops, companies are finally returning to the office across the United States. Both large and small companies, including some of the largest tech companies in the country, have announced days employees are due back after two years of working from home.
Despite companies calling employees back to the office, things will be different. Employees may not have to wear masks, but some require full vaccination. Some employees will be working under a hybrid setup, where they’ll spend time working remotely and in the office. Other companies have closed the office and gone primarily remote.
With Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations declining and governments dropping or reducing Covid-related mandates, businesses now feel it is the time to bring workers back. There’s also a rise in public confidence about going out again without fearing Covid.
Here is a look at the return-to-office period of the pandemic, featuring some of the largest tech companies in the U.S.
Big companies lead the return to the office
Microsoft is one of the major tech companies leading the way in calling employees back to work in Washington and the San Francisco Bay area. In late February, the company told its employees it would reopen its offices on February 28 because of the declining number of Covid-19 cases. Employees have 30 days to figure out their schedules, including working some of the time from a remote location for some employees.
Like many companies, Microsoft had set back-to-office days in the past but then had to change them based on Covid surges. The company feels comfortable with Covid data and how many people are vaccinated in the areas of those offices. Other offices will open based on location.
Other companies are getting ready to go back, too. Apple has asked employees to return to its offices on April 11. It had set a February 1 start date but later moved it. In fact, Apple had four dates postponed since the onset of the pandemic. Apple’s return to office set up is that employees must work one day in the office per week at the beginning, but after three weeks, they’ll be expected to add a second day per work. Finally, on May 23, employees will be working Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in the office.
Apple stores remained open during the pandemic, but it will start holding classes and workshops again. Corporate employees and store customers do not have to wear masks, while store employees will still have to wear masks in some store locations.
Apple, like many companies, had tried to set dates for employees to return to the office. However, Covid thwarted those plans. Now, like Microsoft, the company feels safe enough to call people back.
Google is planning to bring employees back on April 4. Like its fellow tech companies, it will have a hybrid setup for its employees. They’ll be expected to work three days a week in the office. Employees must be fully vaccinated or be approved to come back if they are not. Fully vaccinated employees do not have to wear masks or get tested for Covid. The company is also reopening their cafes, restaurants, shuttles, and massage areas on its campus.
Google has offered to help employees with the transition, but the new changes at the company’s headquarters won’t affect everyone. About 14,000 employees are headed to new locations or will continue with full-time remote work. Google is also granting employees extensions if they are not ready to work at the office yet.
Twitter is bringing employees back beginning March 15 if the employee has not elected to work remotely. Twitter allowed all its employees to have the option of working from home forever. In July 2021, Twitter tried to open its New York City and San Francisco offices but had to close them due to Covid. Since November, the offices have been opened to allow some employees to come back and work.
Commuting back to the office
It might be hard to believe, but it’s been two years since most people last worked in an office. Do you remember how you got there? If you plan to ride mass transit, take a rideshare, or driving your own car, you may be eligible for commuter benefits.
Commuter benefits allow employees to save money from their paychecks tax-free to pay for qualified commuting expenses. That lowers their taxable income, as they can spend up to $280 per month.
Businesses also save on payroll taxes. Companies save $40 per person per month with commuter benefits. If you own a business that has 50 employees enrolled in the program, it saves about $24,000 a year.
Commuter benefits is an excellent program if you want to deliver meaningful benefits to your employees. Book a meeting with us today, so we can help you get started.