Going Back to the Office? Not so fast…

Updated 10/15/2021

IT and Business Operations

The shift to remote work in 2020 has been a tremendous success, according to a recent PWC survey (citation) Still**, many are pushing toward restoring their office culture by requiring workers to return,** at least for part of the workweek.

At Consilien, many of our clients are moving their entire workforce safely back into the office, while others are embracing some form of hybrid work. But we were curious, what’s the general consensus regarding work from home and how are IT departments managing the transition?

We were surprised to learn that many organizations are not moving their employees back to the office, unlike our customers. In fact, some companies are altering pay based on national averages rather than the local cost of living due to employees moving away from larger cities.

Below are a few examples of what some of the largest companies in the United States are planning for 2021.

General Motors

Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced in April 2021 that GM is allowing employees to work from home where the work permits. Not everyone will be able to take advantage of the change, but they are focusing on flexibility for their workers.


In March 2020, more than 90,000 employees, three-fifths of the workforce, transitioned to working from home. Last October, a senior Boeing executive said that Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal might not return to using a headquarters at all but freely move where he is needed, alluding to a possible switch to a hybrid workforce.

Dow Chemical

In March 2021, Dow released a handbook to assist employees in the rollout back to work. It includes phases for critical workers with stricter rules to more lax regulations and most employees returning to the office. It also acknowledges that the stages will differ by geographical location.


Google originally extended the work from home orders to June 2021, then to September 1, 2021, but CEO Sundar Pichai now wants employees to live within commuting distance of their offices. He says he wants workers to return at least three days a week and pay may be altered depending on where employees are located.


The PC giant developed a "Hybrid Workplace Dial" that includes six stages rather than set a definitive timeline for returning to work. Each worksite is on a different level of the dial depending on local health conditions. Once the pandemic ends, they will allow working from home less than 50% of the time where it makes sense to do so.


CEO Tim Cook announced work from home orders until at least June 2021, but he does not expect the office to ever return to normal because they've discovered remote working is beneficial for the company. Apple has been able to use the strict conditions to implement newer technology like augmented reality when visiting remote sites was impossible, leading to further development of potential products.


Plans are to remain primarily remote until July 5, 2021, for those who typically work in offices. The company wants employees on-site in the future, but they acknowledge some positions, especially in technology, will remain remote.


Initially telling employees they can stay out of the office until June 2021, Amazon has acknowledged that returning to work will be gradual. While warehouse workers have largely remained at work throughout the pandemic, AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who will be taking over from CEO Jeff Bezos later this year, says there may be a place for a more hybrid work environment based on job functions.


CVS is hiring 50,000 full-time, part-time, and temporary workers via virtual job fairs and interviews, all while offering bonuses for pharmacists, store associates, managers, hourly-based employees, and other healthcare professionals on the front line.

JP Morgan Chase

Office buildings will be open to employees on May 17, 2021, but with restrictions due to occupancy limits. It's expected that by early July, all U.S.-based employees will be in the office on a rotating schedule, also limited by a 50% occupancy cap.

Wells Fargo

The current plan is to bring employees back after Labor Day. Executives want office life to essentially return to the way it was pre-pandemic. Currently, about 200,000 employees are working from home, and 60,000 remain in branches and other offices.

Overall, businesses are still putting employee health and safety at the forefront. No definitive plans are set in stone, and changes to work from home policies are being made every day.

Some have more concrete guidelines in place and are sharing their strategies with others in their industry. An infinite number of variables leaves the general workforce still wondering how the future of work will look.

Here at Consilien, we’ve helped our customers scale their business operations to fit the moment since 2001. Call us to discuss how to manage your IT and Cybersecurity needs.