Nunavut Post

Businesses putting a halt to back-to-work plans due Omicron

back-to-work plans due Omicron

Key Takeaways:

  • Businesses that cater to office workers feel the pinch as they relocate to their homes.

Because of Omicron, some of Canada’s largest employers are putting plans to gradually bring some workers back into the office on hold, which has disastrous consequences for the businesses that rely on them.

Major financial conglomerates, including central banks and insurers, gradually returned some staff to offices in a limited capacity. However, during to the fast spread of the latest COVID-19 variant, they have halted those plans.

Manulife had planned to resume office operations on January 24 but informed employees in a memo this week that those plans had been canceled. Sun Life Financial, a competitor, told News that it is “encouraging the people who were volunteering to come into the office to stay home until the end of January.”

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Under normal circumstances, those major financial firms employ tens of thousands of people in downtown Toronto, an area described by the president and CEO of the city’s board of trade as the most significant employment zone in the country, with more than a half-million people within a few city blocks.

Businesses rest due to the rapid spread of Omicron; Image from Yahoo news

“We have 2,500 small businesses in downtown that rely on those daytime employees as their customer base,” Jan de Silva said, describing the situation as “critical.”

“We’ve been opening the branches and allowing some of the employees access to those branches,” he explained in an interview, “but now we’re closing them.”

Back-to-work plans are on hold as the highly transmissible variant spreads. The same is true for any other type of in-person meeting between employees.

“We know there are going to be a lot of Christmas dinners and lunches between the teams, and we’ve asked the teams to postpone those get-togethers,” he said.

After nearly two years of a pandemic for any workers who hoped to relax a little this holiday season, that’s disappointing news. However, it is devastating news for businesses that rely on them for a living.

When the pandemic hit, many small businesses and larger employers in downtown cores couldn’t pivot to working from home, so many closed down until it passed.

Source: CBC News

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