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Report: Feds face return to workplace

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc, sickening millions and killing nearly 600,000 in the U.S. alone—while also significantly curtailing the economy. But with the majority of the adult population at least partially vaccinated, and the pandemic easing, many employers—including the federal government—are reopening workspaces. 

A new report from National Public Radio explores the quandaries and pitfalls federal managers and planners face, as they rearrange office spaces and schedule the anticipated return of more federal employees to their traditional worksites. 

As has been widely reported, the administration aims to have detailed plans in place for the “safe return” of much of the workforce by July 19. 

The NPR report notes that many feds already have returned to workplaces—sometimes on a voluntary basis. Many other feds, for example much of Customs and Border Protection among them, never did get far from their routines. Increased danger met all who have had to work through the pandemic. And there is political pressure from some quarters of Capitol Hill to make haste on the return to greater normalcy. 

The report offers several experts on problems presented by the return of employees to physical locations, while COVID hazards still loom in many areas. Problems include how to best support employee safety, morale, and fairness—while facing pressure from the taxpaying public that relies on robust federal services. 

 

2021 Digital Almanac

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