What started as a work-from-home experiment born of necessity in the COVID-19 era is likely to become far more common in the Dayton region and beyond, even after the pandemic ends.
While employers navigated the remote work challenges and found employee productivity remained high, some say key elements of the in-office experience are difficult to duplicate virtually, according to interviews with nearly two dozen business, government, and military leaders.
“Most companies want to get everyone back on-site ASAP. Many feel they are losing their culture by not being on site daily,” said Doug Barry, owner of BarryStaff in Dayton. “Some companies feel they could be completely remote. That will be the exception rather than the rule. There will be many hybrid options for certain positions, especially as companies weigh their office space needs going forward.”
“Flexibility” and “hybrid” are the operative words as ever-shifting back-to-the-office dates begin to solidify and leaders sketch out if and when they will bring back some or all of their workers. The pandemic makes the future uncertain. But with COVID-19 vaccinations increasing and case counts declining, leaders are envisioning the workplace of 2021.
While some employees are excited to return to the office, others are resistant, she said. Workers are asking companies why they need to be in the office when remote work has been successful. They might be concerned about contracting COVID-19 at work, struggling with childcare or have family members with health problems.
This focuses on a few companies in the Dayton area that spoke on the future of their company with the thoughts of COVID-19. Many said that they were excited to come back to the office, while others were worried about getting COVID at work and brining it home. There is a lot of optimism surrounding coming back to work, but outdoor coworking spaces could alleviate some of their concerns.