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Only 1 in 10 companies expect all their staff to return to the office when the pandemic dies down, a new report suggests


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Only about one in 10 companies expect all their employees to go back to the office once the pandemic has subsided, according to a new report by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).

NABE’s January 2021 Business Conditions Survey report revealed that 11% of 97 NABE panelists expect all of their staff to eventually return to the workplace.

Companies in the services sector were most likely to expect all staff to return, according to the NABE.

About 65% of panelists have let all or most of their employees work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Roughly half of them — 51% — said they plan to suspend their stay-at-home policies in the second half of 2021. That’s up from 22% compared to an October survey, the report said.

“Results of the January NABE Business Conditions Survey show that conditions continued to improve during the last quarter of 2020 after the collapse experienced during the first half of last year,” NABE president Manuel Balmaseda said in the report.

“Momentum has continued to build, and survey respondents seem much more positive about the future today than in October.” 

Read more: What to say to employees who don’t want to get the vaccine

Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at company review site Glassdoor, told NBC News: “We’re still in the midst of a crisis, and companies are still experimenting. I do think that eventually most workers will return to an in-person job, at least for the vast majority of the economy.”

Insider reported in December the 21 major companies that have extended their work-from-home policy. They include Google, which is allowing its staff to return to the office in September 2021, and Microsoft, which said in October its employees can work from home for less than 50% of the time without approval. 

American Express, Airbnb, and Uber have also extended their policies for staff working at home.

Meanwhile, Twitter told employees in May they could work from home indefinitely.

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