Big Tech giants Facebook and Google announced last week they would extend their remote work policies through the end of 2020. Like many corporations, the two firms asked their respective employees to work from home to halt the spread of the coronavirus in March.
Now that American workers have adjusted to working from home, many have decided they would like to do so permanently.
Silicon Valley Says Work From Home
As the COVID-19 outbreak became a pandemic, leading technology companies began advising their teams to work remotely. Subsequent government self-quarantine orders have prompted on-site to off-site transitions across the industry. While several states have announced plans to ease lockdown restrictions gradually, many Silicon Valley corporations are keeping their stay-at-home-policies in place.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated his corporation intends to reopen its offices in July, but staffers can operate remotely until the end of 2020. Last month, the social media firm signaled the change by canceling all in-person events hosting more than 50 people through June 2021.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai told his team the company’s off-site operation program would remain in place until year’s end. The executive said staffers whose tasks cannot be performed remotely could return to their offices in June or July.
Forbes indicated Amazon and Microsoft had pushed back their workforce recall dates to October, while Slack’s remote employee policy will be in place through September. Similarly, Zillow CEO Rich Barton tweeted his team would have the flexibility to work-from-home for the rest of the year. The executive also mentioned he has come to view off-site operation more favorably during the crisis.
As work from home has become the new normal, many tech staffers have come to share Barton’s perspective.
The Changing Nature of Work
getAbstract published a survey noting 43 percent of American employees want to continue working remotely even after the economy reopens. The study’s respondents had a range of different motivations for wanting to perform tasks off-site permanently, but a desire to stop commuting topped the list.
Andrew Savikas, chief strategy officer for getAbstract, noted people greatly appreciate the improved work-life balance offered by remote operation. Indeed, a recent CNBC poll found 47 percent of new work-from-home staffers enjoy being able to spend more time with their families. In addition, 60 percent of survey respondents said performing their jobs at home did not hurt and even improved their productivity levels.
The coronavirus pandemic’s effect on how people work has also shown corporations the benefits of operational decentralization.
The Information pointed out knowledge-based firms can cut costs significantly by shifting to a remote operation model. Companies could slash their operating costs by substantially reducing their physical footprints and lowering their payroll spending by employing a globally diverse workforce.
Admittedly, firms specializing in manufacturing or construction cannot function with the majority of their employees working from home. But the proliferation of high-speed internet access and multifaceted telepresence tools gives other industries, like technology, the option.
Given the financial and morale-boosting advantages of corporate decentralization, large campus-style offices may become a thing of the past.