4 changes you could see when you return to the office, from hot desks to more relaxed dress codes

man working office mask
A person on the first day back in the office on March 24, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

  • As more people get vaccines, employees are now faced with the prospect of returning to the office.
  • The post-pandemic workplace will likely look much different than before.
  • Expect “hot desks,” potentially relaxed dress codes, and “flex” work schedules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This time last year, the world stared in disbelief at the prospect of long-term office closures and turning your home into your indefinite workspace.

Now, as vaccine distributions roll out and the light at the end of the tunnel grows increasingly brighter, workers are gearing up for a possible return to the office.

About half of Americans want to go back into the workplace at least a few days during the week, according to a March survey from Envoy.

But the office they return to likely won’t be the same. The pandemic has reshaped how we think about personal space, interaction with other people, and how we balance our personal and professional lives.

Here’s how the office may be different when we go back in the post-pandemic era.

You’ll split your time between working in the office and at home

person office work pandemic
A startup’s first day back in the office on March 24, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

Only one in 10 companies anticipate all their staff to return to the office after the pandemic, according to a report by the National Association for Business Economics. Workers have been forced to adapt to, and have now grown comfortable with, spending their regular 9-to-5’s in their homes. But research also suggests that the traditional office setup provides human connection, something many also need after an isolating year.

So “flex” or hybrid work models will likely take over.

Google, Microsoft, Walmart, and others have announced when they welcome their workforces back to the office, they will still allow their employees to work remotely a few days a week. Google, for example, said it will let its staff work two days from home and three days in the office starting in September. Citigroup, Ford, and Target have announced similar plans.

Some companies have taken a more aggressive remote approach. Twitter said in May 2020 that it would allow its employees to work from home permanently. Salesforce is also providing a fully remote option to its workforce, as well as flex- and office-based plans.

On the other hand, Amazon said that it plans to return to an “office-centric culture,” much to the dismay of some employees who told Insider’s Eugene Kim and Ashley Stewart that they were hoping for a more flexible work policy.

There could be downsides to not going into the office as often. For example, as the Washington Post noted, one potential issue could be management favoring workers that are coming into the physical workplace more than those that are not.

And when you do go back, you may be required to get a vaccine – a January survey found that more than half of companies won’t allow workers to come into the office unless they’re vaccinated.

There will likely be so-called ‘hot desks’

Otherwise known as “hot offices” or “hoteling” workstations, companies will swap personal desks with tabletops that employees can reserve for the days that they plan to be in the office.

Offices will likely cater to in-person interaction, with employees coming in to work on collaborative projects. So think open workspaces and fewer personal workstations.

If you moved during the pandemic, you may enjoy the ‘hub-and-spoke’ office concept

business people office workers greeting mask

As offices shuttered, people transitioned to working remotely, opening up the possibility to relocate to more affordable parts of town or even new cities. Employers will have to factor in their remote and distributed workforces when they usher people back.

The “hub-and-spoke” or”spoke-and-wheel” office concept has been being thrown around for months as a tenet of the “future of work.” It means companies will maintain a smaller central workspace while erecting smaller satellite offices closer to where employees live, such as in the suburbs.

Fast Company reported that Deloitte and KPMG were looking into the model in September, and the hub-and-spoke idea is also making waves in the tech world. Many in the pricey Bay Area have sought more affordable living in suburbs or in other cities altogether, and companies like Amazon, Apple, and Uber have begun making expansions into new markets to meet their employees halfway.

And in leaked audio from a Google all-hands meeting in October, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company was also seeking to expand its office hubs.

You may able to dress more casually

We’ve been living in sweatpants for the past year, and while those may not be appropriate for when we return to the office, we may not be wearing three-piece suits either.

As Inc reported, an “elevated casual” dress code may become the norm as many divide their time between the home and the office, though some industries – like banking and government – will likely be exempt from any sort of pandemic-driven fashion shift.

But employers at large may be more accepting of a pared-down wardrobe. As one expert told Today, “it’s difficult to make any human being change once you get used to it. Who wants to put on a suit?”

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More than 70 top Black business leaders are reportedly urging US companies to fight against Republican voting laws

Kenneth Chenault speaks onstage in 2018 and Merck CEO, Kenneth Frazier, speaks at a briefing on the production of the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021
Kenneth Chenault speaks onstage in 2018 and Merck CEO, Kenneth Frazier, speaks at a briefing on the production of the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021

  • 72 Black executives are urging US companies to speak out about new voting laws, the NYT reports.
  • They claim the new bill, being advanced by Republicans, could restrict the rights of Black voters.
  • Former American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier are in charge of the letter.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Top Black business leaders in the US are calling on companies to fight against restrictive voting rights laws being put in place in at least 43 states, according to a report from The New York Times on Wednesday.

So far, 72 Black executives have signed a letter to American firms, urging them to publicly oppose new laws by Republicans that they said would restrict the rights of Black voters. It comes after Georgia signed a bill on March 25 that the business leaders allege is discriminatory against Black voters.

Former American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault, who is now a director at Berkshire Hathaway, and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier are spearheading the letter about the new voting bill, known as SB 202, or the Election Integrity Act of 2021.

Robert F. Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Mellody Hobson and John Rogers Jr., the co-chief executives of Ariel Investments, Raymond McGuire, a former Citigroup executive, and Roger Ferguson Jr., the chief executive of TIAA, are among the 72 signatories, the Times reported.

“As Black business leaders, we cannot sit silently in the face of this gathering threat to our nation’s democratic values and allow the fundamental right of Americans, to cast their votes for whomever they choose, to be trampled upon yet again,” the letter said, per a CNN report.

“We call upon our colleagues in Corporate America to join us in taking a non-partisan stand for equality and democracy. Each of us stands ready to work with you on what can and must be done,” it said.

Read more: I asked MyPillow whether it sells customer data to political committees. Mike Lindell called back – and things got interesting.

The letter doesn’t specifically mention companies’ names. But critics of the bill have called on major firms in Georgia, such as Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, to speak out after Gov. Brian Kemp signed it. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday in a public memo that “the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”

Democratic officials and civil rights groups have criticized the new law, saying it suppresses voters, particularly those who are Black. President Joe Biden called it a “blatant attack on the Constitution” and likened it to “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Chenault said: “What we’re calling on corporations to do is not just say they believe strongly in the right to vote. It’s to publicly and directly oppose any discriminatory legislation and all measures designed to limit any individuals ability to vote.”

The election bill also says volunteers shouldn’t hand out water and snacks to voters waiting in line and there should be no “ballot selfies” taken. Another controversial measure is adopting stricter voter ID laws for absentee ballots.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is the most recent executive to condemn Georgia’s new election law. On Thursday, Cook said: “It ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Marriott suspends political donations to GOP lawmakers who sided with Trump and objected to Biden’s certification as president

GettyImages trump supporters capitol hill
Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol’s Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

  • Marriott has cut off donations to GOP lawmakers who objected to certifying Democrat Joe Biden as president. The hotel chain said the decision was the result of last week’s siege on the US Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.
  • Marriott is one of the largest US companies to announce it was halting PAC donations to the GOP members who took part in the failed attempt to overturn the election.
  • Companies including Microsoft, Google, GM, and Coca-Cola have condemned the riots as an assault on US democracy. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain, has cut off political donations to Republican members of Congress who voted against certifying Joe Biden as president.

The company told Insider it made the decision following last week’s deadly siege on the US Capitol by pro-Trump supporters seeking to overturn November’s election results. 

“We have taken the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration and will be pausing political giving from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against certification of the election,” a spokeswoman said in an email. 

Even after the mob stormed the Capitol last Wednesday, breaking windows and looting offices, eight senators — including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas — and 139 representatives moved ahead with a planned objection to certifying the 2020 presidential election.  Several other GOP lawmakers who had said they would join dropped out following the riots. Vice President Mike Pence had declined to go along with the plan.

Read More: The right-wing conspiracy theories that fueled the Capitol siege are going to instigate more violence

The insurrection was fueled by months of conspiracy theories and baseless allegations of election fraud pushed by Trump and his backers. The violence led to five deaths, including one Capitol police officer.

Marriott is one of the largest US companies to announce it was halting PAC donations to the GOP members who took part in the failed attempt to overturn the election. The news site Popular Information was first to report the suspensions. Blue Cross Blue Shield’s PAC, known as BLUEPAC, and Commerce Bancshares, have also cut off donations to any GOP members involved, the site reported. 

Marriott is among a growing number of corporations that have condemned the insurrection as an assault on US democracy. Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Facebook have all condemned the attack. Leaders in the auto industry, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley, have also issued statements denouncing the rioters. Ben & Jerry’s, the popular ice cream brand, called for the impeachment of Trump. Coca-Cola called the riots “an offense to the ideals of American democracy.”  

Read More: Amazon is removing Parler from its web hosting service 

Some of Trump’s staunchest supporters also distanced themselves following the riots. Blackstone chairman, CEO, and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman – a longtime Trump ally who previously defended the president’s election lawsuits during a call with top American CEOs – said he was “shocked and horrified.” “The insurrection that followed the President’s remarks today is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” Schwarzman said in a statement to Insider.

Meantime, Simon & Schuster, one of the “Big Five” publishing houses, canceled the scheduled publication of Hawley’s upcoming book “The Tyranny of Big Tech.” Hawley responded that “Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.”

The publishing house said it did not come to the decision lightly.  “As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”

Read the original article on Business Insider