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As Boston Offices Become Busier, Workers Want Flexibility

BOSTON (CBS) - There's a vibrancy in Boston's Financial District that was absent a month ago. Co-workers can be seen strolling the sidewalks and chatting over lunch.

"It's good to be around the people again. It's good not to be locked up in your own house 24-7," said recruiter Chuck Dwyer.

But even as the city bustles, most companies are not rushing to return to the way things used to be. Take Eastern Bank, which according to CEO and Chair Bob Rivers, will allow employees to work remotely until the company reevaluates in November.

Rivers says he wants to see how schools and daycares open in September. He is also concerned about a resurgence in Boston traffic.

"I mean, already it's out there on the roads, it is quite robust," Rivers said. "So we want to get past that, and see what it looks like and see what others do to react to it and really learn."

Harvard Business School Professor Raj Choudhury says companies should consider a work from anywhere model if they want to retain top talent and attract a wider workforce.

"Imagine a company in Boston. They don't have to only hire locally in Boston. They can hire talent wherever the talent is. In Colorado, in California, in Kenya," Choudhury said.

According to a March survey of 1,500 professionals by Harvard Business School Online, 81 percent of workers who newly worked from home during the pandemic did not want to go back to the office or would prefer a hybrid schedule. One in three felt their overall performance and quality of work was better than the year prior.

That is data that Choudhury argues is not a passing fad. "This will play out for several months and years," Choudhury said.

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