Why some leaders deny reality with return-to-office strategies amid Delta surge
Contributed by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, an internationally-renowned thought leader in future-proofing and cognitive bias risk management and an EO 360° podcast guest. We asked Dr. Tsipursky to explain how normalcy bias and other cognitive biases impact entrepreneurs in determining return-to-office scenarios. Here’s what he shared:
As the efficiency rate of vaccines against the Delta variant slides to 39%, company leaders who implement a normal office return are denying reality. The threat is now indisputable: Delta variant infections and deaths have reached an alarming rate in just a few months. No wonder the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone—including those who are fully vaccinated—wear masks and has begun to recommend booster shots for at-risk groups.
Still, many companies, from large ones to start-ups, and even the US federal government, are pressing on with the return to the office, despite employee resistance. Of those who worked remotely during the peak of the pandemic, over a third have already returned. Most of the remainder are required to do so by mid-autumn. In addition, as schools resume in-person learning, Delta variant cases and hospitalizations are increasing at alarming levels.
Employees’ stance on work arrangements
Results of in-depth surveys on employee preferences around return-to-office plans clearly showed a reluctance for a normal office return even before the Delta surge. Approximately half say they will quit if their preferred work arrangements are not approved. A quarter to a third of employees favored full-time remote work, while more than half preferred a hybrid schedule of a day or two in the office.
Numerous employees have already quit in response to the compulsive plans of their employers to get them back to the office. The Delta surge will lead to more resignations among employees who don’t wish to risk their health with breakthrough infections.