Omicron Variant May Delay Office Return

Omicron Variant May Delay Office Return

GLOBAL – On Friday, stock prices of firms offering work-from-home (WFH) products and services increased, as investors are betting that workers are unlikely to return to their workplaces soon, reported Forbes on Saturday (27 November, SGT).

After the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is said to be the most dangerous and contagious COVID-19 variant discovered, shares of Peloton Interactive and Zoom Video Communications rose by 5.7 percent and almost 6 percent, respectively. Stock prices of Quide, which offers rapid COVID-19 tests, also climbed by 10 percent, based on data from investment newspaper Barrons.

On the other hand, the share prices of many other companies plunged after the market has been reaching record new highs on a regulator basis. There were massive sell offs that negatively impacted the market on Friday.

According to the BBC, health experts are worried that B.1.1.529 or the Omicron variant is radically different from the original COVID-19 that came from Wuhan, China. “The concern is that vaccines previously made to tackle the original outbreak, may not be as effective.”

The new variant has been detected in Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel, Botswana, and South Africa. As such, some government has restricted incoming travellers from the said places.

Given the uncertainty caused by the new COVID variant, multinational banks like JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley that have told their staff to return to their workplaces, may be compelled to reconsider their instructions to their employees.

This is because staff may protest over being mandated to commute back to their office due to the risk of getting exposed to the new Omicron variant, in addition to prior COVID variants. And companies will worry over legal liabilities if they compel their workers to commute via public transportation and return to their office.

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