Will take at least a year to figure out bringing downtown back to life: Dream Office REIT's Cooper
A Canadian business leader is being cautious about calling for a full return to the office, saying there’s no point to getting employees back if they’re anxious about not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Michael Cooper, chair and CEO of Dream Office REIT, said in a broadcast interview Friday staff productivity will only return to normal once they feel it’s safe to return to the workplace.
“Until people have their second vaccine and a couple of weeks go by, they tend to be more nervous, and I think to a certain extent after [getting fully vaccinated] and as time goes by, people feel more like superheroes,” Cooper said. “We don’t see any point in trying to convince people to come back to work when they’re anxious. We’d rather have them get their vaccine, maybe have some vacation and then let’s cheerlead them on to come back to the office, become really effective and productive and much more like back to normal.”
Cooper said Dream Office has actually hired more people through the pandemic than before, and that the company isn’t having any issues finding talent.
“What I would say has been problematic and one of my biggest issues is how to work with new people that join our company, how to get them influenced by the culture and the level of productivity we want and how we think and how we work with each other, our ethics and values,” he said.
Cooper said not being in the office has had a “terrible” effect on the onboarding process for new hires.
“It’s really been hard for us to get people to work in the way we like to work. I think they’re missing things … It’s time to get on with real life,” he said.