Business

Lilly plans to bring 25% of office-based employees back downtown June 1

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Monday, Lilly announced plans to start bringing more employees back to work at its downtown headquarters.

Thousands have been working from home since the pandemic began. A Lilly spokesperson told News 8 that about 7,000 office employees currently work from home.

Jeff Rickard has worked in downtown Indianapolis in person for about two months.

“I got used to working at home, but I gotta be honest with you: I like coming downtown again,” said Rickard, who does not work at Lilly but works downtown.

Others will also soon be back downtown again. On June 1, 25% of Lilly’s office-based workforce will be invited to the downtown offices.

“You’ll be required to be vaccinated to come to Lilly that month, and we will still have masking indoors and social distancing. This will also give us a chance to warm up the facility for a full return, later in July,” David A. Ricks, chairman and CEO of Lilly said Monday.

Ricks said the company has learned a lot about how to do remote work during the pandemic and there will be flexibility for employees.

“Normally, pre-pandemic, we had about 70% occupancy because of business travel and other events going on. It’ll be below that, I think, because we’ll allow people to do individual work from wherever they want,” Ricks explained.

Mayor Joe Hogsett said the sight of Lilly employees headed back to work in person is another promising signal for spring. He said Monday’s announcement represents a turning point.

“As more Marion County residents are vaccinated, we can go back to doing more of the things that we love,” Hogsett, a Democrat from Indianapolis, said.

Hogsett also said this is a good thing for the city’s economy.

“Their return will accompany an increased weekday economy for our city and especially for our downtown, in the coming weeks and months,” Hogsett said.

Ricks said — barring any unforeseen change in the COVID-19 case rates, which they expect to continue to fall in the area, the Downtown campus will be open to all employees on July 12th.

Statements from other downtown Indianapolis employers about returning to in-person work:

As a global company, we’re evaluating each office uniquely based on government guidance, input from public health officials and medical experts, insight from our local leadership team, and a COVID risk rating. Regardless of whether a local office has reopened, all employees have the option to continue working from home through at least December 31, 2021.”

Annie Vincent, Salesforce Corporate Communications

“OneAmerica is crafting plans to return more associates to on-site work, and we anticipate a hybrid work model for most of our associates in the future. We’ve learned quite a bit about remote work during the past year. We’re applying lessons learned to create a more flexible work environment, while continuing to keep associates safe and serve our customers.  In the short term, we’re creating opportunities for on-site collaborative meetings as a way to help people comfortably acclimate back into an office setting.”

Lou Ann Baker
Director of Public Relations, OneAmerica

“In very short order, our business groups defined and adapted to a new normal while keeping their focus on our customers. Part of adapting included greater flexibility in workspaces. That includes work-from-home where appropriate; however, to be clear, Regions is not moving to an across-the-board remote-work strategy. Regions offices remain open with extensive safety precautions, and we look forward to welcoming more colleagues back to the office as more progress is made in combating the pandemic.”

“Safety is at the heart of every decision on workspaces. If you go to any Regions office today, you will find people working, safely and socially distant. Or go to any Regions branch, and you will see how we have kept our branches open with precautions based on best practices we’ve learned from the CDC. We are very proud that we have been able to keep branches up and running throughout the pandemic.”

“Moving forward, we feel like we’re slowly getting closer to the ‘other side’ of the pandemic, but we’re not there yet. Decisions we make on when more people will return to the office will be based on data, science, and guidance from sources such as the CDC.”

“Our workplace culture at Regions is foundational to our strength, and we believe culture is best cultivated in person, so we are working to define what a larger-scale return to the office environment will look like in the future. The connections we have between colleagues and business groups support our ongoing focus on customer service, innovation, and continuous improvement. While we have kept moving forward throughout the pandemic, we also believe we can build on our progress by having more people back in the office together when the science and data tell us it’s safe to do so.”

“Through it all, we will remain laser focused on helping our customers. In some cases, the way we work has changed. Our focus on delivering superior service has not.”

Dave Keenan, Chief Administrative and Human Resources Officer, Regions Bank

A Regions spokesperson notes “our branch, located on the first floor of the Regions Tower, has remained open throughout the past 14 months to continuously serve our customers.”

“Many of our employees who support critical and other key banking functions, such as our branch bankers, have been working out of various BMO locations throughout the pandemic. Our view at BMO has been that when the vaccine rollout is broadly accessible within a specific geography, we would look to bring our teams back to the office at least part time. With that in mind, we’re targeting a June return to the office for some of our employees in the United States. Many groups at the bank are taking a hybrid model approach, with a balance of working from the office and working remotely.”

BMO Spokesperson

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