Like Epic, many companies rethinking Labor Day deadline to return to offices

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Epic and many other companies are rethinking their office reopening plans for this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and employees express concerns about potential exposure and outbreaks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Verona, Wis.-based Epic told employees earlier this month that it was mandating return for in-person work beginning Aug. 10 for some of its nearly 10,000 workers. But on Aug. 12, the EHR giant walked back its mandatory on-campus return after receiving objections from employees and a letter from the Public Health Madison and Dane County. Epic said employees now are permitted to work from home at least through year's end. 

"I always say my crystal ball is not good enough," Brett Rehm, an Epic vice president involved in the company's return-to-office strategy, told the Journal. "It is good to have future plans, but you have to pay attention on a daily basis to what is going on."

Other companies had hoped to bring workers back in September but are now taking a similar approach. An August survey of 15 major employers cited by the Journal found 57 percent said they are putting their return-to-work plans on hold due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. The survey — conducted by San Francisco-based Pacific Business Group on Health, whose members include Boeing, McKesson and Microsoft — also found about 43 percent of companies said they plan on bringing employees back to the office, but with enhanced safety measures in place.

Read the Journal's full report here.


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