Bay Area Council Employer Survey: After Nine Months of Data, Return to Work Plans Still Uncertain

San Francisco—New data gathered from Bay Area employers in mid-December showed that the majority of employers had yet to further meaningfully delay reopening plans in response to the Omicron coronavirus variant, with most either delaying by only a month or waiting to make a decision about possible delays until they are able to more closely monitor conditions over the holidays.

December marks the ninth month that the Bay Area Council, in partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and EMC Research, has collected data from employers surveying their return-to-work plans. Month after month through November 2021, a steadily increasing number of employers were beginning to bring non-essential employees back to the workplace with more frequency. In December 2021, however, there was a slight dip in employers responding that their employees had currently returned to the workplace for two, three or five days per week, and a slight rise in employers responding that their employees had returned to the workplace for just one day per week or were working 100% remotely, suggesting that reopening efforts had effectively paused this month.

According to data through November 2021, approximately 40% of employers expected employees to return to their places of work just three days a week after the pandemic passes. For the ninth month, the December survey continued to suggest that the upcoming “new norm” would reflect employees working in the office three days per week. It is unclear how the rise in cases due to the Omicron variant will affect the data in the months to come. The Council gathered the latest responses between December 7 and December 13, 2021, just as Omicron was beginning to make headlines. Survey results in early 2022 are expected to better reflect any changes brought on by a potential surge in Covid-19 cases.

About the Bay Area Council

The Bay Area Council is a business-sponsored, public-policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. The Council proactively advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. Founded in 1945, the Bay Area Council is widely respected by elected officials, policymakers and other civic leaders as the voice of Bay Area business. Today, more than 300 of the largest employers in the region support the Bay Area Council and offer their CEO or top executive as a member. Our members employ more than 4.43 million workers and have revenues of $1.94 trillion, worldwide. Learn more

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