Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

We're starting to see glimpses of what going back to work in offices after months at home will look like.

The big picture: It'll be a long process to return to the reality that America's workers knew before the pandemic. Some of the work-related changes triggered by the coronavirus will last a few weeks, and others will be permanent.

What's happening: Several big companies have released their plans for bringing employees back — and, taken together, these blueprints help us picture how working in a post-pandemic office will feel. To start, most companies are still maintaining that employees should work from home unless they have a compelling reason to go to the office.

  • Salesforce will have employees fill out health surveys and, if they have good enough reasons to use the office, they'll be allowed to do so in set shifts — and they'll get regular health screenings, reports the New York Times.
  • Cloudflare is soliciting petitions from employees who want to return and it's picking the direst cases.

And a slew of companies are going to reopen, but with emptier, lonelier offices — and without perks that employees have grown to love.

  • Facebook is capping capacity at 25%, per Bloomberg.
  • Facebook, Salesforce and Apple are all asking employees to wear masks and maintain social distancing in the office.
  • There'll be no more giant jars of gummy bears at Salesforce and no more massages at Google.
  • Google and Facebook are both closing gyms and changing their cafeterias from buffet-style dining to grab-and-go boxes, per Business Insider.

But even with all the extra precautions, companies are nervous about moving too quickly.

  • In a recent PwC survey, 59% of CFOs — from a pool that represented every major industry in the country — said a second coronavirus wave was their top business concern.
  • Without widespread testing or a vaccine, executives are leaning toward extending their work-from-home timelines for employees, Amity Millhiser of PwC said during a call with reporters Monday.

Worth noting: The survey also found that a greater acceptance of remote work has been one of the clearest changes in the U.S. since the pandemic began. 54% of CFOs said they wanted to make telecommuting permanent in this June survey, up from 43% in early May.

The bottom line: Things at work won't be the same for a long, long time. As Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff put it on a call describing his company's plans, “It’ll be more sterile. It’ll be more hospital-like.”

Go deeper

Amazon defends working with oil companies to reach its zero-carbon goal

Kara Hurst in Seattle.

Partnering with oil and gas producers is necessary for Amazon and other companies to achieve their climate goals, the tech giant's chief of sustainability, Kara Hurst, said during an Axios virtual event on Thursday.

The big picture: Amazon aims to hit carbon neutrality in 2040, 10 years earlier than the Paris climate accord. The company plans to reach its goal in part by helping companies develop climate-friendly technologies through a $2 billion venture fund. The first recipients were announced on Thursday.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 17, 2020 - Technology

Behind Facebook's giant bet on hardware

Photos: Facebook

Facebook's foray into virtual and augmented reality, which it doubled down on this week, is a bet on where the future of online social interaction is heading. But even more important to Facebook, it's also a plan to make sure the company owns a big piece of whatever platform ultimately supplants the smartphone.

Why it matters: In the smartphone era, Facebook has found itself at the mercy of Apple and — to a lesser degree — Google and Android phone makers. The company doesn't want to see history repeat itself.

Updated Sep 18, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

49% of U.S. adults said in a recent Pew survey they would not get a coronavirus vaccine if one were available today.

Why it matters: All major political and demographic groups said they are less likely to get a vaccine now than they were in May, although Republicans and Black adults are the least likely.