Workers grapple with returning to the office, some eager to get back into the workplace

Posted at 6:41 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 19:14:06-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — "It was optional but I just wanted to get out of the house," said Jonathan Mallard who works in downtown Detroit where the lunchtime crowds are nowhere near what they used to be pre-COVID.

RELATED: Michigan hits first milestone of 'MI Vacc to Normal' plan with 55% vaccinated

"It looks pretty dead down here," said Mallard's colleague, Aaron Thomas, after the two picked up lunch at a food truck where there was no wait to place an order.

During COVID and state restrictions, many employers in Southeast Michigan have given their staff the option of working from home or coming into the office.

Those who have opted to work from home cite many reasons including child care, the hassle of a commute, and, of course, COVID.

Attorney Emily Peacock told 7 Action News that before the pandemic, they were tight on office space. She and her colleagues at Olsman MacKenzie Peacock & Wallace have given their employees the option to work from home or come into their law office in Berkley.

"Safety is our number one concern and we just want to make sure that our staff feels comfortable and that we can accommodate everybody's needs," Peacock said. "I don't know if we'll be back to 100% for quite some time."

But Peacock does admit to missing the camaraderie and being in close proximity to others.

"It takes longer to get things done when people are at home because maybe they don't answer the phone," she said. "It was easier to yell down the hall for them, and just that collaboration that goes in an office, and just the friendliness, and getting to see everybody and chat, that's the hardest part."

7 Action News asked people on our Facebook page about their concerns in going back to their own workplaces.

"A little anxiety that I now have to trust 20+ people that they are being safe. But also I just enjoy working from home more and don’t really want to go back. I don’t miss my commute or getting up early and getting ready for work," someone wrote.

Someone else wrote, "Anxiety/depression about going back isn’t so much about COVID. It’s about time away from kids, the commute, childcare, flexibility and dealing with annoying coworkers again."

Click on the video to hear more in Kimberly Craig's report.