More than half of companies rethinking back-to-office plans amid variant uncertainty and vaccine mandates – survey

Thought you were all set to return? Yeah, about that

Cloud directory and identity management outfit JumpCloud has released a survey that extends a big, fat middle finger to proponents of a rush back to the office: 71 per cent of the UK's small and medium-sized enterprises will keep home-working a thing. Indefinitely.

Admittedly, the word "indefinitely" might strike fear into the hearts of those desiring a change of scenery, but it is an indicator of how companies are having to change their responses in light of the evolving pandemic.

JumpCloud's report draws from a relatively small sample of 502 "decision-makers" in the sector in the US and UK, but highlights the rethinking currently under way, thanks in no small way to the Delta variant of the virus.

The most visible impact is the return to the office. 52.8 per cent of respondents are reconsidering plans for a return to the cubes while 15.9 per cent have already slammed on the brakes. 30 per cent have delayed until September, 16.3 per cent to October, November "or later" accounts for 18.8 per cent, while a whopping 35 per cent "don't yet have a firm timeline."

The tech giants have also been pushing back their return dates. Microsoft has set a reopening date in October for its US campuses (and will want a proof of vaccination), and Amazon has delayed until 2022, as has Facebook and Apple.

Still, employees seemed pretty content with the decision making. 80.5 per cent agreed with their employer, while only 9.8 per cent thought it was being rushed (the same percentage felt there was "nothing to worry about," presumably seeking first dibs on the socially distanced workspaces now on the cards).

While the findings might make for depressing reading for vacuum enthusiast and inventor Sir James Dyson, lurking within the report are some interesting statistics around vaccination.

Across the US, 68 per cent of companies have taken steps to mandate vaccination for employees, with more than half of those offering incentives such as paid leave or cash (or equivalent) to get the jab. The northeastern states are most likely to be taking steps for vaccination (at 82 per cent) while the figure drops to 56.1 per cent in southern states.

The split in the UK is stark. 72.8 per cent of companies in Greater London are taking steps to mandate vaccinations while less than half – 44.9 per cent – in the rest of the UK are doing the same.

Whatever one's feelings concerning vaccination, the emerging regional splits speak of inconsistency and the potential for division.

Still, it also sounds like there is every chance that many of us will be able to occupy the kitchen table for a good while longer. ®

Broader topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022