Oregon Live featured Audra Hedberg in their recent article. Audra was interviewed about return-to-office concerns regarding the delta variant of COVID-19. Oregon’s governor, Kate Brown, has reinstated mask mandates and announced that state executive branch workers are required to show vaccination proof. Many large corporations are also adopting the same or similar requirements.

Audra Hedberg, the vice president of services at Portland-based human resources consulting firm Trupp HR, said other companies are considering similar mandates but worry they could lose employees. Though medical studies have shown available vaccines to be safe and effective at reducing the spread and severity of COVID-19, many remain resistant to receiving them.

Hedberg said companies who have implemented strict return-to-office plans are also struggling to retain workers, adding new challenges for employers at a time when many are navigating labor shortages. She said the recent spike in cases has only made employees more wary about returning to the office, especially those with children who may be feeling increased anxiety about their kids returning to in-person instruction this fall.

“Employees have gotten very used to this remote work world,” Hedberg said, “and they like the flexibility.”

Trupp HR, which employs about 30 workers, decided to move to a fully remote model last summer after the lease on their inner Northeast Portland office expired.

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