As COVID-19 spread around the world in early 2020, offices were forced to close. Anyone who could work from home started to right away. Companies were forced to quickly figure out how to communicate, collaborate, share documents, and manage teams virtually.
After just a few months, though, a number of business leaders started to figure out the whole work-from-home thing has benefits. That’s when the announcements started pouring in. CEOs declared that it would become a permanent part of their companies’ futures.
Now, two massive shifts are taking place that will likely accelerate the remote trend. According to Global Workplace Analytics, just 3.6% of the US workforce worked from home in 2018. Now, “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” Here’s why:
- Employees want to work from home. According to a Gallup poll from March 30 – April 2, 2020, “Three in five U.S. workers who have been doing their jobs from home during the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible, once public health restrictions are lifted.” Employees are seeing the benefits.
- Employers are riding the new wave of positive press associated with allowing employees to work from home. Before COVID, the trendy offering was beer on tap, ping pong tables, living walls, and office location in a city like San Francisco, LA, Boston, or New York. Now, the competitive trend is to offer work-from-home. Employers are seeing the benefits, too.
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Here are all of the companies that have made announcements that remote work would be permanent for their employees. I’ll update the list every time a notable announcement comes out.
Every Company Going Remote Permanently (UPDATED: Oct 19, 2020)
"Nationwide plans to shrink from 20 physical offices pre-crisis, to just four," Lee Clifford wrote in a Fortune interview with Nationwide CEO, Kirt Walker. Walker added, "We think the world is changing. We’ve got to take cost out of the system. We want to enable sustainable growth."
"If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen," said Twitter's vice president of people, Jennifer Christie, in a statement to CNN Business.
"Moving forward, Squares will be able to work from home permanently, even once offices begin to reopen. Over the past several weeks, we've learned a lot about what it takes for people to effectively perform roles outside of an office, and we will continue to learn as we go," the spokesperson told The Verge.
"After the restrictions of quarantine are over, Coinbase will embrace being “remote-first,” meaning we will offer the option to work in an office or remotely for the vast majority of roles. Whether in an office or remote, being 'remote-first' means we will all need to shift how we work," said Brian Armstrong, CEO, in a blog post.
"When you limit hiring to people who live in a small number of big cities, or who are willing to move there, that cuts out a lot of people who live in different communities, have different backgrounds, have different perspectives," Zuckerberg said on a livestream posted to his Facebook page.
"As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over." (Tobi Lutke, CEO, tweeted.)
"...it will inevitably mean more flexible work, and allow more Boxers to be able to work from anywhere. Before the pandemic hit, ~15% of Box's workforce already worked remotely, and this number will surely increase over time," Aaron Levie, CEO, wrote in a blog post.
"Upwork knows firsthand the incredible outcomes that distributed teams can deliver. Building on our 20 years of experience as a remote work company, we are now permanently embracing a 'remote-first' model. (Hayden Brown, CEO, tweeted.)
“I expect, as we continue in this environment, we’re sort of going to end up in the 50% to 60% range over time, and I don’t think we’re atypical,” CEO Pat Gelsinger told CNBC.
"The tech conglomerate's eventual goal is to have 70% of its workforce -- about 23,000 people -- work remotely for two or three days a week," wrote CNN's Kaorji Enjoji.
"Slack is going to become a much more distributed company. That means most employees will have the option to work remotely on a permanent basis if they choose, and we will begin to increasingly hire employees who are permanently remote," said Robby Kwok, SVP of People, in a blog post.
"We are going fully remote first at Quora. Most of our employees have opted not to return to the office post-covid, I will not work out of the office, our leadership teams will not be located in the office, and all policies will orient around remote work." (Adam D'Angelo, CEO, tweeted.)
In a statement sent to the BBC the company spokesperson said that under a new plan, employees will "begin to primarily work on a remote basis to achieve a working style that allows them to flexibly use their time according to the contents of their work, business roles, and lifestyle." The company also said the programme would allow staff to choose where they worked, whether that was from home, a major corporate hub or a satellite office.
"We have introduced an updated flexibility policy that applies to all office-based associates, effective July 15, 2020. The policy shifts responsibility from manager-approved to manager-informed, empowering associates to choose how, where and when they work within their country of employment" (Novartis company blog post.)
“The aim is to enable employees worldwide to work on a mobile basis for an average of two or three days a week, whenever reasonable and feasible,” Siemens said in a statement.
"Effective immediately, we will offer about 90% of our employees the flexibility to work from home as an ongoing option, at least part-time, allowing them the ability to work where they are most productive, whether that is in the office, their home, or a combination of both," said Dan Spaulding, Zillow's Chief People Officer in a blog post.
"Lease is up. Cleaning out our office." (Jason Fried, Founder & CEO, tweeted.)
“We will seek out amazing, diverse talent unbounded by the physical footprint of our offices. We will continue to compete for talent in the global hubs, and we will be able to create opportunities for those in places we would have previously not been able to reach,” the company wrote in a blog post.
“I am confident that the sale of the Spring District campus would have a positive impact on REI’s future—and yours,” REI President and CEO Eric Artz told employees in a video call. “This year has shown us our home is not a building. Our home is wherever we find ourselves doing our best work, pursuing our outdoor passions, serving our communities. Serving each other.
"In 2021, HubSpot will drop the 'ish' in 'remote-ish.' We’re going to shift to a hybrid remote-office model where career growth is equitable for everyone, whether you do your best work in an office or in a home office. It’s the right thing to do for our employees and candidates, and for growing a company we’re proud of long-term," Katie Burke, Chief People Officer, wrote in a blog post.
“Schroders embraced flexible working long before lockdown and the investments we have made in remote-working technology over the years meant our business has not missed a beat since March. But in the space of a few months, we have made 20 years’ progress in attitudes towards flexible working, and we are going to continue with this momentum,” said global head of human resources Emma Holden.
"Gett’s global workforce of almost 1,000 employees are now entitled to choose between working a four or five day week," Personnel Today covered in an article. "Gett has also offered staff the opportunity to work remotely indefinitely should they wish. Employees can choose their preferred remote location or to work in the office, or a combination of the two."
Andrea Arosio, a partner at Linklaters and member of its people committee, said, “Our recent experience has demonstrated that, whilst we are a people-focused business and collaboration is key, remote working has worked remarkably well and we can deliver high-quality work whilst working remotely.”
“We are going to start implementing the model that I believe will be more or less permanent, which is this rotational model. Depending on the type of business, you may be working one week a month from home, or two days a week from home, or two weeks a month,” Daniel Pinto, COO and co-president, told CNBC.
"Prior to this pandemic, I had never been a big believer in working from home," said CEO Eric Fuller. "What we found is that our production actually got better. We put together a very rigorous schedule with daily touch points with each one of our employees working at home and we planned regular department meetings over the internet at least once a week
Brian Fung of CNN Business wrote, "Okta's internal surveys showed strong demand for more work-from-anywhere flexibility. Roughly eight in 10 employees said they would feel as or more productive working remotely than in the office, according to data the company collected in 2019. Just 17% said they would prefer to work five days a week inside an office."
From SFGATE's article, "Pinterest pays $89.5 million to terminate San Francisco office lease"
"The $4 billion group has framed a new policy wherein all its sales people will people will permanently work remotely, whileother employees would WFH 50% of the time. For office-based staff, this can extend to 75% in special cases," wrote Namrata Singh in a Times of India article.
CBS17.com covered the story: "At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Verizon transitioned over 90% of its employees to work from home. Now, the wireless company is hiring 950 additional customer service employees who will work from home permanently."
"Moving forward, Brex will be a remote-first company. People can work from anywhere, and all of our processes, communications, and culture will be designed remote-first, i.e. assuming every employee is remote. We’ll have office hubs in major cities where employees can work from if they want to, but the vast majority of our team won’t be expected to be in an office," Pedro Franceschi, founder of Brex, wrote in a Medium post.
The bank’s leadership is working on a new “hybrid model” for how staff can split work between the office and their homes, Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said at a conference on Thursday.
"We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing. But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models,” said Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.
"While remote work is not ideal for everyone, what we’ve learned is that our employees can be equally productive working at home, and that flexible work options give us a better quality of life," Indeed’s statement said.
Coca Cola India
"Coca-Cola introduced on Wednesday, an option for its employees to work from home permanently even post-pandemic, if their physical presence is not required in the office, according to a new policy."
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us to think, live, and work in new ways,” says Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s chief people officer, in a note to employees. “We will offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs, and ensuring we live our culture.”
"Starting today, Dropbox is becoming a Virtual First company. Remote work (outside an office) will be the primary experience for all employees and the day-to-day default for individual work," the Dropbox team shared in a blog post.
Stephen Griggs, Deloitte U.K.'s managing partner, told ABC News in a statement. "We are proposing our Gatwick, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton [UK] offices will permanently close and the firm is consulting with Deloitte people based out of these offices to move to a permanent homeworking contract."
Our Definitions For Remote Work Policies
In the table, you’ll see a few different classifications in the “policy” column. Some companies don’t have any offices at all. Others have offices but give their employees the option to work from home. There are differences in each policy.
Here’s how we define remote work policies.
- Optional: Employees have the option to work from home or the office.
- Partial: Some employees, based on role and situation, are able to work from home.
- Remote First: The processes required to work remotely lead the company’s operations, with in-office processes coming second.
- Fully Remote: The company does not have any physical office locations.
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