Facebook, Twitter, Google And More Companies Did It: Now You Might Just Work From Home Forever?

Nathan Pettijohn Contributor Leadership Strategy

It’s obvious that this would be a pretty bad time to be in the commercial real estate industry. Right now, over 14 percent of Americans are unemployed. That’s more than 30 million people. Big name brands have been filing for bankruptcy on a daily basis, so far including J.Crew, Pier 1, Avianca, Neiman Marcus, True Religion and Virgin Australia, among others. Over the past few months, 62 percent of employed Americans have been working from home and three out of five surveyed said they would prefer to continue working from home. So the question has been circling: when and why would we ever return to working at a physical office?

Since the federal government hasn’t laid out any clear or consistent reopening guidelines, it has been left up to states and individual companies to come up with plans for reopening, including their own protocols for testing, tracing and enforcing social distancing. While some companies, like Twitter, have announced that they will allow employees to work remotely forever, other companies have taken the opposite approach. Some of the energy companies based in Houston, for example, are requiring many of their employees there to report back into their offices before the end of May.

Work From Home Jobs

With such a disparity of clear information or guidelines, this leaves many companies potentially liable for the health of their employees, and in some cases it may even be illegal to force employees to come to work during a pandemic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exists precisely for the purpose of protecting workers from unsafe working conditions, and the federal OSHA rules are supposed to take priority over state laws. The lack of clarity in messaging and protocols from a federal level is making everything even messier and more convoluted. 

There are clearly many businesses that can’t function with a work from home scenario. We’ve seen some of these “essential” workers continue to work throughout this ordeal, such as those in healthcare, transportation, grocery, agriculture, communications, and other industries. Many people however, are able to work from home just fine. In December of 2019, Zoom had 10 million monthly meeting participants, and in April of 2020 that number went up to 300 million monthly meeting participants. People pivoted and found ways to work remotely, so again, why should we ever go back? 

For context, just a couple years ago WeWork was valued at $47 billion. Things change, and we adapt. In the near term, some of the companies forcing employees to go back into the office seem absurd and careless, given that most schools are still closed, which means that kids are still at home. At the college level, the California State University system has announced that their 23 campuses will remain virtual throughout the fall, and many other school systems are likely going to take a similar approach, including primary schools. With kids still at home for the foreseeable future, it is only logical that parents would be allowed to continue working from home as well. 

Full Article At Forbes.com

1 thought on “Facebook, Twitter, Google And More Companies Did It: Now You Might Just Work From Home Forever?”

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