Six months ago, companies were forced to send their workers home to telecommute to limit physical contact to minimize the spread of COVID-19. While the adjustment was huge at first for both workers and companies, there have been many surprising results. Big tech companies found that their workers’ productivity increased, causing them to rethink remote work benefits. The result is that at least 15 well-known companies have decided to let their employees telecommute permanently.
Why has telecommuting worked?
Even with the adjustments of working from home, the advantages have outweighed the challenges. Here’s why.
- Working from home helps workers focus on their work. There are fewer meetings and less interaction with co-workers that waste time.
- Because workers create their own schedules, they’re 50% more productive. Self-motivation is a better catalyst than being told what to do.
- Work is valued as more worthwhile when you telecommute because you don’t need to do unnecessary tasks.
Tech companies say that many jobs can be done via computer, so there’s little need for workers to come into an office.
Which companies will let their employees telecommute?
With no end in sight for the global COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans have expressed a desire to continue telecommuting from home. Many companies are listening to these requests by writing up permanent work from home policy guidelines. Here’s a list of companies that have decided to allow their employees to work from home permanently.
In a recent memo sent to its employees, Microsoft outlined specific guidelines for at-home workers. These guidelines will allow more flexibility for workers to choose whether to work from home. Microsoft, located in Redmond, Washington, plans to reopen its office in January 2021. At this time, the new guidelines will go into practice. Microsoft was the first large company to permit employees to telecommute before the pandemic, so it’s not surprising they lead the way with a specific remote work policy. Practically the guidelines state that.
- Employees can do remote work for as much as 50% of the workweek without a manager’s permission. They also have the option to work the entire workweek without permission from a manager.
- Those who choose to work full time from home can relocate to another part of the country if there’s a Microsoft office there. The company will pay your home office costs if you choose remote work.
- If you choose, you can also move to another country, but your compensation package may change depending upon the country where its employees relocate. The company will use its geopay scale to determine what you’ll be paid. So, you won’t be able to move to a country where the cost of living is low and receive a United States compensation. Your relocation fees will be your responsibility whether you relocate to the U. S or overseas.
If needed, employees can visit their office for personal training, access to specific hardware or data.
At the end of July, Google announced extending its work from home policy for the upcoming year. Employees who live in the San Francisco area won’t need to go into the office until June 2021.
In his recent memo, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said, “To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we’ll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021, for roles that don’t need to be in the offices. I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved one over the next 12 months.”
Twitter, also based in the San Francisco area, announced this past May that their employees could work from home permanently. In a strategic move, Twitter began deconstructing the use of offices two years ago. Employees were allowed to relocate and telecommute. What started as an experiment has turned out to be beneficial for Twitter employees.
“We’ve already been on this path, and the crisis just catapulted us into a future state,” said Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s Human Resources Chief. “The future of work is offering employees more optionality.”
Twitter’s foresight to allow employees to telecommute two years ago seems fortuitous. No doubt, Twitter’s long term work from home policy will draw talented employees who are looking for this kind of flexibility for their lives.
REI, the outdoor retail store, just sold its 8-acre corporate office campus in Bellevue, Washington. Rather than having one main location, REI will now have new headquarters at several satellite campuses. The headquarters’ sale provided funds to offset the sales slump from COVID that hit the retail company. Employees have no commute and more flexible work schedules. This switch to 100% remote work gives REI the ability to hire new workers outside the Washington state area.
“We learned that collaboration doesn’t have to be tied to a single location,” says Ben Steele, REI’s Chief Customer Officer. “We learned that mobile working tools and technology are pretty effective, and we learned that the benefits of flexibility to the individual employee are pretty profound.”
Following other companies’ lead, Uber announced in August of this year it will permit its employees to work from home until June 2021. Uber is offering its office employees a $500 stipend for a home office. Employees can return to the office after this date if the pandemic has subsided.
Zillow joins a growing list of companies allowing employees to telecommute permanently. In the past, Zillow discouraged its employees from working from home, emphasizing the importance of collaboration at the office. But the pandemic changed their thinking as workers’ productivity levels remained strong, and their ability to serve the customer never diminished.
Reuters is an international news organization owned by Thomas Reuters. The company currently employs 2500 journalists and 500 photojournalists. As a result of the pandemic, they recently told their employees that they should work from home until January 2021.
This American-based company markets software and hardware payment products. Square also provides financial services and mobile payment services. Led by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey, the company recently told its employees to work from home indefinitely until further notice.
Well known CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his staff at Facebook they can telecommute from home indefinitely. Based on what happens with the pandemic, there could be an extension to the telecommute order.
Last May, Salesforce gave its employees the option to telecommute from home until the end of the year. At the moment, the plan is to open offices at different times, depending upon the pandemic.
Amazon, a Seattle-based company, announced this past October that it would allow all office workers and corporate employees to work from home until January 2021. Depending upon the pandemic, this could get extended beyond this date.
This Swedish-based auto-streaming and media services company was launched in 2008. It has become wildly popular and continues to grow. They recently told their employees they might work from home until 2021. Their offices will open per the government guidelines in each city.
Hitachi is a Japanese-based company that has permitted employees to telecommute during the pandemic. They’re hoping to keep at least 70% of its employees working from home permanently.
Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. CEO Brian Armstrong announced that workers could work from home permanently. For those who would like, the company will offer them office space.
This well-known bank card company has no plans for its employees to return to the office. They told their employees they can telecommute until they feel comfortable going back to the office.
Other benefits of working from home
Working from home has many benefits for workers and employers. The pandemic has shown many companies that telecommute allows workers
- Less of a commute
- More productivity
- More motivation to work and stay on task
- A more balanced work and life
- More control over your schedule
- Psychological advantages
- Better focus
- Child care when a child is sick is easier
Disadvantages of working from home
Studies show there are also some disadvantages to telecommuting for employees and employers. These include
- Some companies overcame challenges monitoring whether employees are really working
- The financial cost incurred from working at home
- Communication issues may occur
- An employee’s home life may interfere with work-life
- Fatigue and mental stress from home/work life
- Isolation, employees can’t talk to their co-workers in the same casual way
The pandemic has forced many companies to send their workers home to telecommute. The outcome has been more positive than employers expected. More productivity and continued ability to service customers effectively has convinced companies that telecommuting is here to stay. Many companies have decided to allow their employees to work from home permanently. Their decision will no doubt affect the way Americans work. Good chance, other companies will follow their lead since there’s no end in sight for the pandemic. The result may be an entirely different type of workforce in the years to come.