The coronavirus pandemic forced many companies to quickly transition to a work-from-home format. Yet as more cities reopen, employers are questioning workers’ appetite to return to the office.
Guy Berger, LinkedIn’s principal economist, told Yahoo Finance this week that he’s found that a lot of people “want to be in the office,” and employers find it easier to manage in that format.
“There's more appetite to return to normal from a lot of people, both employees and and bosses, than people currently appreciate,” Berger told “On the Move.” Despite gloomy predictions, that desire is likely to rise once a vaccine becomes available, he added.
For the moment, the “new normal” has prodded a number of companies, like Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Square (SQ), to expand work-from-home options for workers, or even allow many of them to remain remote on a permanent basis.
Berger stated that despite these implementations, “remote work is not going to totally displace in-person work.”
Berger also points out that despite the high level of U.S. unemployment, the data does not definitively answer the question of how many of the jobs that were lost will actually come back.
Many of the jobs being posted as available right now are “pretty specialized,” Berger told Yahoo Finance. Therefore, it’s not easy for someone to “lose a job in one industry to quickly pivot to the other one.”
May’s payroll report, which showed the U.S. economy added over 2.5 million jobs as the unemployed got called back to work, stunned Wall Street.
Still, Berger struck a note of caution surrounding the market’s growing expectations of a sharp recovery.
“It could very well be that the recession is over, but that the recovery is very slow or takes a long time getting going, and that we remain with employment that's before its pre-COVID levels for a long time,” he added.
McKenzie DeGroot is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @degrootmckenzie