U.S. markets close in 4 hours 10 minutes
  • S&P 500

    4,145.82
    +4.23 (+0.10%)
     
  • Dow 30

    33,899.43
    +222.16 (+0.66%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    13,963.51
    -32.58 (-0.23%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    2,267.04
    +38.12 (+1.71%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    62.82
    +2.64 (+4.39%)
     
  • Gold

    1,735.70
    -11.90 (-0.68%)
     
  • Silver

    25.42
    -0.00 (-0.00%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1977
    +0.0023 (+0.19%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.6410
    +0.0180 (+1.11%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3793
    +0.0041 (+0.30%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    108.9600
    -0.0880 (-0.08%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    62,877.34
    -112.21 (-0.18%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,356.33
    -19.45 (-1.41%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,938.95
    +48.46 (+0.70%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    29,620.99
    +82.29 (+0.28%)
     
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

CEOs to employees: Stay home until at least September

Julie Hyman
·Anchor
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Many U.S. office workers are approaching a year of working from home. While vaccine distribution is accelerating and the number of new U.S. COVID-19 cases are falling, companies are taking a cautious stance on getting back to the office, with executives telling Yahoo Finance they’re targeting a September return date.

Salesforce grabbed headlines this week by outlining how it plans to return employees to the office, offering them a choice to continue to work from home or adopt a flexible, mixed schedule. But it’s far from the only large company to update employees on return-to-work plans.

“We’ve told them, ‘don’t plan to come back before September,’” Centene CEO Michael Neidorff told Yahoo Finance Live, Health insurer Centene, an administrator of Medicare and Medicaid plans, has more than 71,000 employees.

When they do return, it won’t be all at once, he said. “We will do modifications. You may come in for a four-day work week. You may come in one week, stay at home one week. It will be a function of the job.”

Smart speaker maker Sonos is also keeping employees home until September at the earliest. CEO Patrick Spence told Yahoo Finance that also means giving extra support to workers struggling with at-home and pandemic-related stressors.

His biggest challenge, he said, is “definitely how we manage through a period where we have everyone at home. They’ve been working like crazy. One of our top three priorities is supporting our people, making sure they have what they need, they’re not burning themselves out.”

Most American employees are actually back in a physical workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23.2% of employees teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic in January.

Businessman with protective face mask working at his desk. Business people return back to work after pandemic lockdown sitting at desk with protection guard between them.
Businessman with protective face mask working at his desk. Business people return back to work after pandemic lockdown sitting at desk with protection guard between them.

PepsiCo is one of the companies with a unique challenge, a massive workforce of more than 250,000 divided between office on the one hand and manufacturing facilities, warehouses and trucks on the other. Employees in the latter categories are viewed as frontline workers, and have been operating with safety protocols. Like other corporate executives, Pepsi’s management is trying to stay nimble when it comes to office workers.

“I think that world has permanently shifted. I’m not sure where it will land yet,” said Pepsi Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston in an interview. “Some teams need to do more work collaboratively, others can work from home a bit more. We’ll learn that over time, but I think there will be a new normal that won’t be just a return to the five days in the office anymore.”

The work at tech firms like Salesforce may lend itself more easily to telecommuting, but that doesn’t mean the transition process has been easy. And many executives are emphatic that working in-person has its advantages.

“We have to get people back in the office,” Centene’s Neidorff said. “We’re an innovative company. We need to help people develop. You’re not innovative when everybody’s working at home.”

Julie Hyman is the co-anchor of Yahoo Finance Live, weekdays 9am-11am ET.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.