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The WFH Revolution

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

The US companies leading the Work-From-Home revolution.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the US summer. It's also the possible turning point in the country’s beginning to reopen the economy. 

Less-impacted states have reopened and those states hit hard by the pandemic are talking about easing up on some of the restrictions. This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that keeping the economy closed for too long could cause “irreparable damage."

Taking the lead, some well-respected tech CEOs started making the tough decisions. Weighing the options, a number of top executives have elected to continue allowing their employees to work from home. As a result, we’re now watching the work-from-home trend take off. 

Jack Dorsey, the dual CEO of both Twitter and Square, informed his employees at both companies that they can continue working from home “forever.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, followed with his own announcement that his employees may also work from home.

Google, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Capital One, Zillow, Slack, Amazon, PayPal, Salesforce and other major companies have extended their work-from-home options, according to the largest human resources organization, SHRM. 

A recent Gallup poll revealed, “Now that some of these employees may be able to return to their workplace, it appears only a quarter are emotionally ready. Another quarter are reluctant to return specifically because of concerns about contracting COVID-19, while half have a personal preference for working remotely.”

This is very similar to a recent international poll that revealed 48% of participants would happily take a pay cut if it meant they could work from home indefinitely.

Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, said, “Seventy-seven percent of the workforce say they want to continue to work from home, at least weekly, when the pandemic is over.” Lister estimates, “Twenty-five to thirty percent of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.”

The consensus seems that the widespread availability and ease of use of technologies to collaborate and stay in constant contact, such as Zoom, Slack, Google Hangouts and other services, enabled people to smoothly adapt to the new work-from-home setup.  

Employees appreciated the chance to avoid long commutes, look after their home-bound children (as schools closed) and tend to family members who may have been impacted by the virus. Executives noticed the potential cost savings, as expensive long-term leases for office space may no longer be needed.

Corporate executives are cognizant that their employees enjoy the chance to work from home, they’re able to do their part in helping the environment (as less people drive or take buses to and from the office) and their real estate costs will drop precipitously (as less people will be working in the office).

Critics of the work-from-home trend contend that companies will lose their identity and culture. Employees, particularly younger ones, will miss the lack of social interactions. Part of the camaraderie at work is seeing your co-workers, going out to lunch together or having a drink after work. This will be absent from the new remote environment. 

However, there's no doubting that the WFH trend is gaining momentum and is likely to become the new norm post Covid-19.

Want to know more? Remote Work Policy Tracker - a list that tracks updates to companies’ remote work policies since the COVID-19 pandemic.

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