World Bank delays return-to-office plans until January

Coronavirus case numbers surge across the US as Delta variant spreads

(FILES) In this file photo the World Bank headquarters is seen in Washington, DC on May 20, 2021. Fueled by widespread Covid-19 vaccinations in advanced nations, the world economic recovery has picked up speed, but the upbeat outlook obscures a worrying picture in poor nations, the World Bank said June 8, 2021. The global economy is now expected to grow 5.6 percent this year, 1.5 points faster than projected in January -- the fastest post-recession bounceback in 80 years, according to the latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report.

 / AFP / Daniel SLIM

The World Bank Group delayed plans to have more employees return to its headquarters until January 2022, the latest in a string of organisations to postpone workplace-return plans as Covid-19 infections keep increasing in the US.

The international lender pushed back the move to a 50 per cent building-occupancy cap at its Washington offices until January 3 “in an abundance of caution”, according to an internal staff message shared with Bloomberg News.

“We believe this decision is in the best interest of WBG community health and safety and appropriately balances the potential impact on our clients.” The original date for the return was September 7.

The World Bank Group comprises several entities including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which employs more than 12,500 staff, 55 per cent of whom are based in Washington. Thousands more work at International Finance Corporation.

The number of Covid-19 cases has surged across the country as the Delta variant spreads, prompting companies to re-evaluate return-to-work plans and schools to return to online education, quarantines and mask requirements.

Charles Schwab last week postponed its return-to-office plans to no sooner than January. Goldman Sachs, Alphabet’s Google and Facebook have announced vaccine requirements. Delta Air Lines on Wednesday said it will impose a $200 monthly surcharge on employees who are not vaccinated against Covid-19, becoming the first major US company to levy a penalty to encourage workers to get protected.

Updated: August 29, 2021, 5:10 AM