WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — After more than a year of working remotely, some workers are starting to slowly return to the office.
With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout opening up to more adults, that timetable may be pushed up a bit.
Romeo Chicco now brings his dog Bilbo whenever he stops into the office, about two times a month.
But the desks and cubicles have been sitting empty inside PayMaster Payroll Service in Boynton Beach for the past year, ever since employees began working remotely.
"We had discovered very early on that we had seen more productivity being that they were at home," Chicco said.
Romeo said that after 26 years his company has always been somewhat prepared to work remote with hurricanes in South Florida.
But COVID-19 has been a longer storm, and Romeo just decided his employees will remain at home permanently.
"We looked at it as we can help our employees spend more time with their family, less commuting," Chicco said.
Romeo said his 25 employees are each now saving 173 hours in commuting time a year, not to mention other overhead costs.
PayMaster is now downsizing and plans to sell off 1,000 square feet of space, but it will keep a good chunk of the office, desks and a conference room, a spot for employees to come in and meet with their clients."
But for Lawonda Warren, her time working at home is coming to an end.
The assistant attorney and police legal advisor for the city of Delray Beach has been vaccinated, and her office is slowly bringing employees back into the building.
"I'm excited to see all of my co-workers because you miss that human interaction of people," Warren said.
Lawonda admits she's both nervous and anxious, but is now more comfortable returning to work with the vaccine eligibility soon opening to all adults.
"I'm happy there will be a safer working environment, I'm happy I'll be able to spend more time with my family, my parents, my siblings and my nieces and nephews," Warren said.