In March of 2020, offices suddenly closed their doors, encouraging staff to work from home. At first, it seemed like a short-term fix to a large-scale problem. Multiple offices remain closed, yet office workers are being encouraged, even urged to return to their desks. While employers offer choices between office and virtual, many have been scenario planning what will work best for them based on health, safety, culture and employee buy-in.
As companies allow work from home with unknown end dates, the possibility of permanent virtual employment will end: at some point, all business will request staff come back into the office. Intel implemented a three-phase return: lessons learned include frequent and visible daily cleaning, limited public area seating, and disposable plastic covered keyboards. “Enhanced cleaning…will not go away any time soon, nor will the idea of people working from home…this has been a huge social experiment…as we are more conservative than other countries…as they lift restrictions, we will lag behind.” Darcy Ortiz, VP Corporate Services, Intel
Tech giants were early adopters of home policies as early as March. Microsoft employees anticipated an October return, but as infections continued trending up as Fall approached, they are just one of many delaying returns with extending virtual freedoms. Wall Street Journal reported Google has extended working from home until July 2021, following an internal discussion with company leaders, according to CEO Sundar Pichai.
Whirlpool officials has extended virtual work for those with flexible who prefer it. But when everyone returns, perhaps businesses will start using enhanced technology like infrared cameras to detect elevated body temperatures faster than thermometer checks. Flagging workers who carry the virus provides greater peace of mind.
Twitter and Facebook extended virtual work, in some cases indefinitely as they accumulate strong data that teams remain productive and diligent. Although some experience a decline, most managers support virtual productivity.
Businesses like Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan brought traders back in when the curve leveled out. CNN anticipated a second phase of return later this Fall, however management “…expects the majority will not return this calendar year…bringing teams back…depends on…a second spike, a correlation between profits and flexibility, and unemployment rates.” President, Jeff Zucker, CNN May 2020
Square will have the option to telework permanently.
Shopify will not open offices until 2021 although most employees will permanently work remotely.
Coinbase may choose whether they work in an office or remotely.
Upwork will work remotely, adding that teams will come together for collaboration and socialization.
Lambda School may choose to work from home permanently even as offices open.
Slack may remain at home, extending its remote work policy keeping offices closed until June 2021.
Atlassian may work from home indefinitely, eventually reopening for workers who want to go back.
Capital One in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. are closed to nonessential staff with an uncertain Fall return.
Mastercard will stay home until they are comfortable with a return.
Box can work from home until January 31, 2021 with flexible work patterns upon reopening
ClassPass can choose to work from home for the rest of the year.
Salesforce, Zillow and Qualtrics and Amazon may work from home until the beginning of 2021.
Discover may work from home for the rest of 2020 or return as their state allows.
Fox Corporation non-production staff will be able to work from home for the remainder of 2020.
Insider and Business Insider staff will not be required to return to the office until July 2021.
Uber may work from home until June 2021, with the option to return when they feel comfortable.
Despite challenges, staff remains remote, experiencing a greater sense of work-life balance and flexibility. Regardless of where your team sits: over-communicate to avoid confusion; allow flexible scheduling yet maintain consistent in work patterns;; know who to contact in case of IT issues or complaints; allow for rotation of responsibilities as teams repurpose themselves; and find ways to highlight your teams’ ability to get the job done.