“There’s so much disease that could be prevented — outside of COVID — if people just stayed home,” Jones said, noting that thousands of people die each year from the flu. “Part of that conversation has to be around paid sick leave. One of the challenges in getting people to stay home when they’re sick is making sure they’re getting paid.”
Rethinking the workplace
Even before the pandemic, workers were demanding more flexibility, and employers were beginning to understand that a one-size-fits-all workplace didn’t support everyone’s needs, said Eric Gannon, an architect and Midwest regional technology workplace leader for the design firm Gensler.
“It’s like we fanned the flames a bit,” Gannon said.
Now that many workers have figured out working from home can be productive and fulfilling, Gannon said his clients are asking what will get them back to the office.
Gannon said a growing number of workers want to return to the office, but they want more say in when and how.
“Very few are saying, ‘I want to return exactly the way I was,’” he said. “I want to be back in the office, but I want to have some control.”
Instead of “a sea of desks” with lots of space carved out for individuals, Gannon said the post-pandemic workplace will feature more amenities and spaces for collaboration, or “less of the ‘me’ and more of the ‘we.’”