Concerns of returning to the office during the coronavirus pandemic

I-Team

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Even with the state reaching the last step of the reopening plan, many companies are still allowing workers to get their jobs done from home.

Many office buildings in Springfield are still empty, and at this point, workers are not being pressured to get back to the office anytime soon.

“That’s what really concerns me the most. How does culture change in this world, with remote working? I do wonder if there are professions and jobs where you can work remotely where productivity can’t be monitored very well.” Paul Mancinone, CPA / Attorney & Chairman Board at Mercy Medical Center

For over a year now, companies have had employees working remotely during the pandemic, but just how productive is it compared to being in the office?

Paul Mancinone’s tax firm is one of the few that have returned, at the 1441 Main Street building in Springfield. Mancinone is a proponent of going to work versus working from home, but he knows for larger employers, the challenges of ensuring a safe office environment.

“Coming to work and only seeing security continues to be odd for us. There is very minimal foot traffic here. The bathrooms, the hallways, the common areas, I think that’s the paradigm with office buildings now, you have to keep it clean.” Paul Mancinone, CPA / Attorney & Chairman Board at Mercy Medical Center

MassMutual is one of those companies you think about where workers have to be in that compact office-style setting, and even at this point in the pandemic, 96 percent of their workforce is still working from home. The company has been strategizing a safe return for their employees.

In a statement, a MassMutual spokesperson told the 22News I-Team, “we expect to have MassMutual employees return to our corporate offices in a slow phased manner later this year. We will continue to monitor and reassess that plan, factoring in a number of considerations.”

Those considerations include a sustained reduction in cases, broader availability of testing and vaccines, as well as employees comfort in returning. The 22News I-Team also discovered, Boston employers are opting for a hybrid approach to bring back workers, for part of the week.

Besides safety at the office, remote workers have raised concerns about the unknowns surrounding the long-term effectiveness of the vaccines, as well as the new variants.

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