When Mr. Romain Daubec and his spouse, Monica, moved from San Francisco to Denver, Colorado, last summer, they expected their telework hundreds of miles from their workplaces to last no more than a half-year.
However, the astonishingly fast spread of the Delta form of Covid-19 has them settling in for a new way of life that they claim now seems more “natural.”
A increasing number of businesses in the United States are postponing their workers’ return to work due to the current wave of illness.
But, like the Daubecs – he is French, she is American – an increasing number of individuals throughout the nation have returned to telework for a second year, voluntarily this time, with little desire to return to the workplace, happy and comfortable with their new personal and professional existence.
The Delta version, which is currently prevalent in the United States, has taken a severe toll. Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated on Thursday that an average of almost 113,000 new daily cases of Covid-19 were reported over the preceding seven days, a 24 percent rise over the previous week (Aug 12).
Facebook, took notice and declared on the same day that it will not force employees to return to the office until January 2022.
“Data, not dates, determines our motive to going back to the office,” a Facebook spokesperson said in response to an AFP enquiry, adding that the company’s first priority was “everyone’s safety.”
Only a few weeks ago, the famous social network had pushed for a faster return to normalcy, stating that it would reopen its headquarters fully by October – while requiring all workers to be disguised and vaccinated.
As a result, Facebook has joined Amazon, Microsoft, American Express, and NBC in postponing the complete reopening of their business operations until October or January.
Going back to work is no longer an option for Daubec, 34, a financial analyst for an unit of French bank BNP Paribas, and Monica, who works for Facebook.
While Monica’s wages were reduced by 10% as a result of the relocation, Mr Daubec said that “that was substantially compensated for” by a higher quality of life and more inexpensive housing – less than half as costly in Colorado as in California – as well as cheaper taxes.
Above important, Monica no longer needs to spend three hours every day on a bus.
It took a little longer for Mr. Oren Klachkin, an economist with Oxford Economics, to decide to leave New York for Boulder, Colorado.
When a fresh wave of Covid-19 hit last autumn, he found a silver lining: it was a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to live someplace else, keep our employment, and try living in a different location,” he said.
He and his wife, Nicole, a 35-year-old consultant, had been living in a small Manhattan apartment.
To deal with the Covid-19 spike, a Mississippi hospital has placed beds in its parking garage.
The pair currently lives in Boulder, not far from Denver, in a “little home” with separate work rooms for each of them.
“I enjoy my new life here,” Mr Klachkin said, emphasizing the importance of “having access to outdoor activities” in a beautiful area near the Rocky Mountains.
Telework in Colorado has enabled him to achieve a better work-life balance and has spared him from having to “spend” up to two hours a day on the subway, he claims.
However, “there are certain drawbacks, of course,” Mr Klachkin said, citing the difficulty to connect with colleagues in person.
This is countered in part by “the availability of various internet tools to basically enable us to see one other… even if we’re not physically in the same place.”
Mr Daubec believes that where one works is less important than how one works.
“As far as I’m concerned, all I need is a decent Internet connection and to work in San Francisco’s time zone,” he added, although admitting that not every profession lends itself to remote work.
Fundamentally, Mr Daubec said, telework works when it is based on a foundation of trust between employer and employee: Companies accept telework because it saves on fixed expenses such as office rent, while employees agree to work as seriously as if their supervisor were present in the same room.
Mr Klachkin, for one, claims he is more productive than ever since he no longer has to spend lengthy, exhausting hours travelling every week.