Companies pushing to get workers back in the office


CHICAGO — Some of the largest companies in the country have continued to grapple over the issue of employees returning to work back in the office, with some — like Goldman Sachs — pushing for a full return to the office, while others — like Google and Microsoft — are doubling down on a hybrid model.

“I’ve encouraged people and said, ‘look, you’ve got to be in the office for your teammates,’” said Courtney Wright, founder and CEO of Gemini Builds It Showcase Acrylics based in Elgin.

Wright said she’s a reasonable boss who gives time off for family issues or attending their kids sporting events, but working from home will, in her opinion, adversely impact her business.

“Working from home doesn’t do collaboration,” Wright said. “It doesn’t help creativity that comes when multiple minds are together in a room dealing with a client issue.”

Getting workers back on board isn’t going to be easy though.

James Malackowski, co-founder of Ocean Tomo, a management consulting firm focused on matters of intellectual property, said, “our view is it’s a new normal condition,” and employers may not have a choice if they want to attract and retain talent.

“Generally speaking, workers will never return to the office in the format we were accustomed to,” Malackowski said.

Back in June, governor JB Pritzker, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Illinois Department of Public Health, issued industry-specific return to work requirements covering proper social distancing, cleaning, provision and proper use of face coverings, as well as other training and safety procedures.

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