Whether or not yours is your forever home, it may be your forever office.
A growing number of companies have announced that they will permit employees to work remotely on a permanent basis. Users on GitHub have been tracking these work-from-home announcements on a crowdsourced list, which includes a breakdown of companies that have said they will let some employees work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic.
All but a handful of businesses that require in-person workers first made the switch because of the pandemic. While some jobs do require on-site workers—think healthcare, grocery and drug stores, delivery, manufacturing, public-safety, etc.—professions ranging from salespeople and teacher aides to TV anchors and lawyers arguing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court have morphed into home-based ones.
Among the biggest companies to embrace the idea of a permanent switching to telecommuting is Facebook, which announced Thursday that more than 50% of its staff will likely be working from home in the next 10 years. The same day, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted that he plans to keep offices closed until 2021 and then after that, most employees will work remotely.
“Office centricity is over,” he declared.
Earlier this month, the digital currency exchange Coinbase said it is becoming a “remote-first” company, and Twitter said its workers could telecommute for as long as they wanted to.
A permanent shift
“Very senior people are saying, ‘We have a whole bunch of jobs we thought never could be done remotely and we’re finding they can be—and it’s going pretty well,” said Debra Dinnocenzo, a Pittsburgh-based telecommuting expert, explaining why the move to work-from-home isn’t going to revert back in many cases. “People are thinking, ‘We’re not going to get out of this mess for a while, longer than we thought, and we’d better be smart.’ Also in back of their mind is, ‘This may not be last time this happens.'”
Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 56% of U.S. workers have jobs that are at least partially compatible with working remotely.
“Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021,” the firm’s president, Kate Lister, wrote on the company website. “While the experience of working at home during the crisis may not have been ideal as whole families sheltered in place, it will give people a taste of what could be. The genie is out of the bottle and it’s not likely to go back in.”
According to a Gallup poll, half of Americans who now work remotely said they want to continue doing so even after restrictions on business are lifted.
Driving the perma-adaption are managers’ realization that people aren’t slacking off (and, in fact, are sometimes working longer than in the past), financial savings for the employees who no longer have commuting costs or the need to buy lunch, environmental benefits, and decreased spending on real estate and office overhead for employers.
“There are lots of organizations that just don’t have revenue coming in . . . You’ve got to find ways to balance that,” Dinnocenzo said. “If it’s working reasonably well under the worst circumstances, imagine how well it’ll work when kids go back to school and people decide they [can] work from the dining room table and empty a room of junk to work there.”
Check out the full list on GitHub here.