A Few Large Companies Prolong Work from Home to September and Beyond

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek May 6, 2020

This story, originally posted May 6, was updated  to include Facebook's May 7 announcement.

Facebook has announced it is extending its work-from-home policy, put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the workforce, through the end of the year. It is the latest large company to make such an announcement. 

Capitol One announced earlier this week that most employees working at home can continue to do so at least through September. Amazon and Microsoft have extended telecommuting as well, saying employees will work from home until October. Real estate company Zillow told staff they may work from home through December.

Companies are grappling with how to safely return workers to an office environment. They are trying to figure out how many employees can safely ride an elevator or occupy workspaces while maintaining social distancing.

New research has found that more than one-third of U.S. jobs—37 percent—can be done remotely. Identifying which jobs cannot be performed from home may be useful as policymakers try to target social insurance payments to those who most need them, according to a study from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business 

SHRM Online has collected the following articles from its archives and other sources on this topic. 

SHRM Resource Spotlight
Coronavirus and COVID-19

Facebook Allows Staff to Work From Home Through End of 2020

Facebook will let employees do their jobs remotely through the end of the year, in the latest sign that the coronavirus pandemic threatens to upend business for months to come.
The company doesn't expect to reopen many of its offices until at least July and employees who can work from home may continue to do so until the end of 2020, a spokesman said.  The company employs nearly 50,000 people not including contract workers. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has previously said that the company would be cautious in reopening its offices. 

Capital One to Keep Most Staff Home Until at Least September 

Capital One Financial Corp., potentially setting a standard for the U.S. financial industry, plans to keep most employees working at home at least four more months as it waits for the COVID-19 pandemic to ebb. The lender's offices in the U.S. and the United Kingdom will remain shut to all nonessential staff at least through the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 7, CEO Richard Fairbank wrote in an internal memo. He promised employees that the McLean, Va.-based firm will give them at least six weeks' notice once the company decides to reopen those sites.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Flexible Work Arrangements]    

Microsoft Updates WFH Policy, Lets Employees Work Remotely Through October

Microsoft is giving employees the option to work remotely through October after revising its work-from-home policy this week. "On May 4th we confirmed that when restrictions lift, working from home will remain optional through October unless employees are in an essential role or local authorities mandate otherwise," the company said in a statement shared with GeekWire. Microsoft employs nearly 54,000 people in the Seattle region, most of them at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., in addition to thousands more at offices across the world

Amazon Gives Employees Option to Work from Home Until 'at Least' Early October 

Amazon will give employees the option to do their jobs from home until at least early October—extending its remote work guidance by several months. The move by the Seattle tech giant provides a potential bellwether for other companies in the larger discussion about when and how to bring teams back to the office when the COVID-19 outbreak starts to fade. However, the update notes that working from the office "may be another option" prior to that point, with precautions, in accordance with government guidelines in different locations around the world.

Many Businesses May Follow Amazon in Stretching Out Work-from-Home policies, Crimping Downtown Recovery 

Amazon's decision to let engineers and other office staff keep working from home through at least Oct. 2 was another blow for struggling merchants in downtown Seattle and Bellevue, which have been virtual ghost towns since the coronavirus crisis emptied the cubicle farms in March. The company's decision also could signal a broader trend toward extending work-from-home practices. Other white-collar employers are realizing that returning to the workplaces is likely to require extensive precautions — and pose heightened health risks—even after business gets the all-clear from Gov. Jay Inslee.
(Seattle Times)   

Zillow Says Employees Can Work from Home for Rest of 2020 

The nation's largest real estate listings platform is allowing its employees to work from home for the rest of the year. The decision to allow remote work for the rest of 2020 is a nod to the structural changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, with many firms questioning the need for office space. About 90 percent of the company's employees are telecommuting, according to Business Insider.
(The Real Deal)    

10 Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Workers 

Stay-at-home orders prompted by COVID-19 are creating a challenge for managers—including those in HR—at a time when many companies are implementing telework policies for the first time. SHRM Online collected the following 10 tips to help managers who work with remote employees.
(SHRM Online)  

Remote Work Policies Should Now Stress Flexibility

Organizations are implementing remote-work arrangements for their employees due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak—many for the first time—and need to be able to outline expectations and guidelines for working outside the office. Generally, remote-work policies cover eligibility, working expectations, legal considerations and technology issues, but during these extraordinary circumstances, flexibility is paramount.
(SHRM Online)  

Remote Work Resource Page 

This SHRM resource center can help employers facilitate flexible work arrangements while navigating a sophisticated array of technologies and remote work polices to meet their needs.
(SHRM Online)



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