Austin city manager pushes back city employees’ return to office as coronavirus firms its grip on city

Austin City Hall (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)

Austin City Hall (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)

City of Austin employees were set to begin returning to the office next week, but given the surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Austin, the city manager decided to push back the start of a phased reintegration to late July.

Many city employees began teleworking in mid-March when the city and state began to shut down as the virus spread through the region. According to a memo released this week by City Manager Spencer Cronk, city employees will not begin returning to the office until at least July 27.


Phase 2 of the return-to-work plan has more employees, both essential and nonessential employees, returning to the office beginning Aug. 24, with Phase 3 beginning Sept. 21. However, even by Phase 3, not everyone who was in an office will be returning to the office. Cronk’s memo encourages teleworking to continue where possible.

“Employees who are currently utilizing telework may continue to telework if those employees’ primary job functions can be done remotely,” Cronk said in the memo.

A city spokesperson said the city will allow employees who can telework to continue doing so indefinitely. Although not yet permanent, the move follows a trend locally and across the country of employers who see working from home as a realistic option for employees moving forward. Large local employers such as Dell and Facebook have said working from home will be part of the future of their companies.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


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