Don’t know how to get employees back

CEOs are at a loss to figure out how to get their employees back to work, as high levels of Covid infection persist for 18 months after the outbreak of the pandemic. This view is shared by CNBC’s David Faber and Jim Kramer, who regularly speak to business leaders about the challenges of getting back to work.

“I continue to hear a whole host of frustrations from those who run large organizations in terms of their inability to get people back to the office,” Faber said Friday in an interview with Squeak on the Street co-host Kramer. “I had lunch and dinner last night,” Faber said. “It’s just an endless topic. Some of these CEOs don’t know how they handle it. “How do I get people back.”

Kramer said the possible endorsement of a new antiviral pill, Covid, from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics could “change the rules of the game we were looking for” to make people who worry about getting sick at work less afraid of going to the office. Pfizer and Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche also race for the development of Covid drugs.

“Often when you talk to companies that are in the supply chain, the problem is truancy,” Kramer said. “People are scared. Maybe if it makes you less scared, you’re going to go to work. ”

Merck and Ridgeback said Friday they plan to obtain emergency clearance in the United States for oral treatment of Covid after announcing “convincing results” in late-stage clinical trials involving unvaccinated participants. Molnupiravir reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by about 50% for patients with mild to moderate cases of Covid. If approved by regulators, molnupiravir could become the first oral antiviral drug to treat Covid.

Faber asked if people who do not want to get the Covid vaccine would take antiviral pills. “This is Merck. They know how to test, ”Faber said to Kramer, nodding his head. “We will not sit here and doubt it. But I am sure that there will be those who will do it. “

The delta variant has led to another recent spike in infections in the United States. Although it appeared to peak in incidence last month, the last seven-day average of new daily infections was still 114,243. The number of new deaths from Covid in the past seven days averaged 1,957, after a recent high of over 2,000, the worst since March.

Corporate America is trying in fits and starts, as cases change, to decide how to safely get its employees back to work and whether vaccines should be administered.

  • PwC announced Friday that it will allow all US employees, nearly 40,000 of them who can work remotely, to work virtually from anywhere in the continental United States.
  • Many big tech companies, including Apple, Amazon, Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and Microsoft, have shelved their plans to return to work.
  • Salesforce co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff said Tuesday, “We’re not all going back” to the office. According to Benioff, during an interview at Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California, CEOs of large companies call him and say they want their employees back to the office. Benioff previously told CNBC he expects 50% to 60% of Salesforce employees will work from home even after the pandemic.
  • Wall Street finance companies have largely recalled their office workers, many of whom work on mixed hours. Goldman Sachs also requires employees to be vaccinated to return to their offices, in line with similar edicts from Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.

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