Bowing to public pressure, health tech company Epic Systems has now notified its employees that they can work from home until the end of the year.
Epic had planned to require thousands of employees to return to the office this month to preserve its culture. Employees were previously told to return to the office unless they had problems arranging child care or had a health condition. Those employees were earlier told they could work remotely until Nov. 2.
But after hearing concerns from local public health officials earlier this week, Epic said it would rethink its remote work policy. The company had also heard feedback from its own employees, who shared fears about their health and safety.
Epic, which is based in Verona, Wisconsin, employs about 9,000 people. It is one of the largest heath technology companies in the U.S., and it sells medical record software to some of the nation's top hospitals.
Now, the company has said that staff will receive four weeks' notice before they're asked to return to the campus, which is based in Dane County. Those who choose to come in are welcome to, Epic said, but the company will monitor the number and limit it if required.
The company shared the following statement with CNBC on Thursday:
On August 8th, Epic paused our phased return to campus in response to a letter from Public Health Madison and Dane County. On August 12th, we updated our policy.
As of August 13th, staff can continue to work from home until at least the New Year. For those staff who wish to come in, they are welcome to return to campus. We believe that in-person collaboration is important.
We will continue to closely monitor data to guide our decisions, including Dane County public health reports, the impact of UW students' return to campus, and the advice of public health experts. For the safety of our staff and our community, we'll monitor the number and location of people on campus and limit the number if needed. Staff will receive at least four weeks' notice before they are asked to return to campus next year.
This novel disease is challenging. Infectious disease experts told us that many companies, like ours, have had to adjust to changing information and developments about the virus and revise their plans multiple times. We appreciate constructive feedback from our staff. We look forward to a time when everyone can be together again in person.