Culture Hack

Culture Hack

The Future of the 9-to-5: Why Vaccine Rollout Might Not Impact Work From Home Culture Too Much

With the recent widespread availability of vaccines throughout the United States, most have been eager to live a more normal life similar to the one in pre-pandemic days. The standard in-person 9-to-5 workday is an aspect of our culture that was thought to be the most expected return. Employees are excited to be reunited with their team and to finally have their workplace removed from their living spaces. Some companies, however, have different plans for their work base. 

In his annual shareholder letter, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon expanded on his ideal post-pandemic work culture, theorizing that most of Wall Street will be working remotely for a whole. Regarding his own company, Dimon states that at least 10% of JPMorgan will permanently work remotely, the at-home hours facilitated by internet meeting spaces such as Zoom and Cisco. While he did not completely rule out in-person work — also emphasizing that remote work has to work for all of its participants — the CEO did suggest that a hybrid model where employees are allowed to split their time between a set company location and their homes would be the best way to disrupt the mundaneness of WFH will keeping their teams safe. 

U.S. News reported that 44% of people currently working from home will still prefer to work remotely even when vaccines are available and restrictions are lifted.

Though this corporation’s post-pandemic work plan may be surprising to some, many companies are still developing plans that will support the preferences of all their employees. Since last October, Microsoft’s policy has been that half of its employee force could work from home without manager approval, with other tech and social giants like Twitter announcing a similar remote work flexibility. Meanwhile, other corporate giants like Google have announced that all employees will have a maximum of 14 WFH days annually with manager approval. 

When it comes to developing the workspace plan for employees, a few factors come into play. One component is real estate: because the economy took a slight fall during the pandemic, companies might be focusing on minimizing physical space to make for more financial gain. Though they will still have in-person locations, Dimon says JPMorgan will shrink its office spaces into more open seating and less individual offices, theorizing that for every 100 employees a bank will need just 60 seats. 

Another major factor is employee motivation. While some may be excited for in-person life again and eager for the inspiration only office settings bring, others will still be deeply concerned about the pandemic and their personal health. Companies will also have to take into consideration the settings that work best for each type of person; some have succeeded in solitude while others may feel like they cannot continue on any longer remotely. 

Although the vaccines have established a new hope for a healthier world, there are still many uncertainties about the virus. Companies of all sizes should keep in mind that there is always new information circulating around COVID that could benefit or restrict in-person offices. On top of that, the priority of their employees should be their personal and familial health; if a hybrid, remote, or extremely safe in-person work plan will help them maintain that help, their companies will be doing the job of keeping their teams safe. 

So what is the future of the 9-to-5? It is still unclear how the traditional workday will come out of the pandemic. But one thing can be said about the impact of the past year on the workflow; corporations are more aware of their employees’ needs and are willing to break the norm to best support them.