Denying Reality in Returning to the Office With the Delta Surge (Video and Podcast)

6 min read
Denying Reality in Returning to the Office With the Delta Surge (Video and Podcast)

Employers must recognize the challenges from the initial COVID outbreak and avoid mental blindspots as Delta and other variants emerge. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes the dangers of denying reality in returning to the office during the Delta surge.

Video: “Denying Reality in Returning to the Office With the Delta Surge”

Podcast: “Denying Reality in Returning to the Office With the Delta Surge”

Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast

  • Here is the full article about denying reality in returning to the office with the delta surge.
  • The book Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage is available here.
  • You are welcome to register for the free Wise Decision Maker Course 


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the wise decision maker show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. And today, we’ll help you make the wisest most profitable decisions around the Delta search and return to the office. There are unfortunately way too many leaders who are denying reality regarding the Delta surge and the return to the office. We’re making some pretty bad decisions around this topic. Now, there’s so many leaders who are pushing for normal office returns. Like it’s a normal situation like the vaccines have solved everything. Like we can all go back to the office and when it is completely saved despite the Delta search, but the Delta search is much much more problematic than the depiction. Our cases here in the United States, in some states, are worse than they have ever been in Florida. It’s the highest case they have ever had throughout the pandemic. And it might not be a surprise if we in the cross stated states as a whole reach our highest caseload throughout the pandemic. This is a big problem, delta is way more infectious than previous COVID variants. And vaccine immunity is not very good against Delta. We have extensive evidence that vaccine immunity fades seriously and significantly, for example, Pfizer was the inoculation of choice by Israel for its population of over 10 million people. And they got it done really fast, December, January, March, February, they got that done really fast. So then they have studies, and then they have outbreaks that may have an outbreak of the Delta surge, just like we have in the United States. And they found that six months after the Pfizer vaccine, combined with the strength of the delta vaccine, immunity of Pfizer goes down to 39% for infectious disease. So someone with symptoms, someone who can easily get others infected. Not as bad for hospitalization, but still pretty bad. So the vaccine immunity goes way down, that makes vaccines not such a good protection against delta to make it seem like oh, everything’s good, normal, we’ll go back to the office now. And cases are slated to peak sometime in mid to late fall in the United States. This is a serious issue. But so many companies are not changing their policies, they’re still going back to the office saying, We’re going back to the office, we’re going back to the office. AIG though insurance companies saying we’ll go back to the office in September. Now, some companies and other companies as well, some companies are saying well, we’ll change your policy. So for example, we had the Delta cases starting to go up from mid late June here, United States. And they were really starting to surge in early July. So Apple was saying for a long time that they’ll go back to the office in September, September, September. And those cases were surging as it became clear that it’s really bad. In July 2014, around July 24, they said okay, clearly it’s a bad idea. We won’t go back to the office in September, we will go back to the office in October, October, they wanted to hit the real peak mid late fall when they’re really going to be surging, obviously a bad bad idea, bad planning by the leadership. But the APA leadership is really, really pushing for return to the office, they want to do that. And they’re making some pretty terrible decisions and doing so only recently, just so July 24, with all the cases on August 23. They said, okay, you know, clearly we screwed up that time. And we had a lot of employees resign because of clearly bad decision making by the leadership. And they said on August 23, that they’ll go back to the office in January. Yeah, really, Apple is one of the largest, if not the largest company, something like $2 trillion in the world. And they made a decision that cost the many, many, many billions of dollars and top employees last having to change their plans all around serious employee morale hit, that is a bad problem. And so many companies are going through that same process. Also, other variants are coming up on the tail, you know, if you think it’s the delta is gonna surge in mid late fall, what will happen after we know that other variants like delta plus might be well around the corner, delta plus is present in the Bay Area, and 11 other countries and around the states and spreading, and it’s looks like it’s just as infectious as delta but more capable of escaping vaccines. So not good news. And that are, again, other variants that are coming up down the road, you know, so that’s why we’re seeing employees strongly resist going back to the office. Already. 33% complied with the return order, and this is of all the people who can work remotely Of course, which is about 50% of the US population. But we also know that about 50% indicated that they will quit, if they don’t get their work preferences met by their employees 25 to 33%, a quarter third, want to work full time remotely more than 50% want a hybrid schedule with only something like 15 to 20% wonderful time in the office. And so many leaders want full time in the office. And they certainly don’t want anyone to work remotely. And this is a big problem, a big challenge. This is what’s causing a key critical cause of the great resignation. So this is something that is a big, big problem that employees insist on this normal office return. It really shows Bad, bad business models in the pandemic. And in the future of work. It’ll cause mass resignations, and it shows really bad gut decision making by employers. So this is something you need to be aware of to make good decision making. If you’ve been checking out the wise decision maker show for a while, you know that the gut is not the right way to make decisions. So don’t make decisions in the same way that the apple leadership was making clearly not using data, clearly using their desire to go to the office to make ludicrously bad decisions. Obviously, it’s a terrible idea to delay your officer turn only by a month with the surging of cases in K and delta slated to peak in mid late fall. So good decision making is something that we should avoid, and specifically that our judgment errors, dangerous judgment errors called cognitive biases, that our company our gut decision making. These are systematic errors of logical reasoning about goal achievement, productivity, efficiency, decision making, risk management, that we all suffer from, that we all need to avoid. It causes leaders to put their employees preferences inside and say, you know, it doesn’t matter what the employees want, I’ll go ahead with what I want. So leads to poor strategies like an apple and lots of wasted resources. So what are these cognitive biases affecting leaders? Now, you want to be aware of three cognitive biases that are particularly important for the Delta search, the normalcy bias is the most important one normalcy bias, we tend to greatly underestimate the disruptiveness of potential events that are problematic, that are charged, that don’t feel good for us to acknowledge, like the possibility of a very, so many people so many leaders perceive vaccines, as normal, as leading the way to normalcy, and the future will be good, everything’s fine, greatly under estimating the likelihood and the impact of major variants, like delta and other ones coming down the road. So you don’t want to fall into the normalcy bias, you don’t want to underestimate Delta itself and other variants going down the road. Now, another problem is making too optimistic plans. This is a tendency for all of us as human beings, including the very top leaders among us, like at Apple, so Apple is making really bad plans. And that relates to cognitive bias called the planning fallacy. We intuitively want our plans to go right, we want everything to go well, we want to be successful. And we feel that we’re good people, that we make good plans, and therefore we should succeed in our clients. That’s the planning fallacy. We don’t account for necessary resources for various problems that can go on for various risks nearly sufficiently. That’s the planning fallacy, and the ostrich effect that leads us to deny negative reality, just like Apple denied negative reality about the Delta surge. And so leaders make these mistakes too often, there was a study of the 186 board members that fired their chief executive officers, and the board members were asked why you they fired the chief executive officers, so 286 and one of the top reasons 23% of the board members reported that their chief executive officer denied reality. The ninth negative reality about the company, it’s the ostrich effect. So probably Tim Cook at Apple will not be fired. But that’s the kind of thing that leads to top executives being fired. To defend against these judgment errors, these cognitive biases. You need to use evidence based practices, evidence based best practices, and encourage everyone who you can influence to do so whether you’re a leader or whether you lead are leading up you want to encourage folks to use evidence based best practices. It’s not a good idea. It’s pretty foolish to have a normal officer turn plan with the Delta search and it was obvious already in early July that it was a bad bad idea. You want to use a hybrid first model with a minority fully remote. So hybrid first model, meaning most people are coming in for maybe a day a week in the office, maybe two days, and a substantial minority 10 to 30% are fully remote. That is really important because you want people to be able to go fully remote immediately. So the Delta surge is getting worse. And indeed, in some states, like in Florida, you did not want to be working in the office. Some states, it’s not so bad, yet, but some states where it’s gotten really bad, like in Florida, you definitely don’t want to be working in the office. That’s why it’s important for some members of your team to be working full time remotely, so that you have that as part of your culture. And as part of your risk management system, you can immediately switch to a full time remote schedule with minimal disruption. And if you have some people working full time remotely at all times, that will help you make that happen. Well, that’s what you need to know about why leaders deny reality in returning to the office with a Delta surge and how you can address that. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the wise decision maker show. Please click like and follow us and subscribe to us on whatever channel you’ve heard us. We have a video cast for the podcast, so YouTube, iTunes, wherever you get your podcasts videocasts there’s going to be much more information in the show notes. So click on that there’s a blog. There’s a lot of information. So scientific citations on all of these topics. And of course, I hope you will send me your questions. Love to hear them, send them to me at Glen GL MB at disaster avoidance experts that calm again glubb at disaster avoidance and I’ll be happy to answer them. Don’t read it, don’t answer every email, but I make sure to read all of them. Alright folks, I hope to see you at the next episode of the wise decision maker show. And in the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decisions to you, my friends. 

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Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is an internationally-renowned thought leader in future-proofing and cognitive bias risk management. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities. A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, and other languages. He was featured in over 550 articles and 450 interviews in prominent venues. These include Fortune, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, CBS News, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Time, Fast Company, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, including 7 as a professor at Ohio State University. You can contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, LinkedIn, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and gain free access to his “Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace” and his “Wise Decision Maker Course” with 8 video-based modules.