Will Employees Continue Working from Home After COVID-19? One Company Says 'Yes'

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek April 30, 2020
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man working from home

​Online real estate portal Zillow told its staff in April that they may telework through the end of 2020. "My personal opinions about [working from home] have been turned upside down over the past two months," Zillow co-founder and ZillowGroup CEO Rich Barton said in a tweet. "I expect this will have a lasting influence on the future of work … and home. Stay safe."

About 90 percent of the company's employees are telecommuting, according to Business Insider.

A nationwide survey conducted April 16 and 17 found that nearly half of the respondents (more than 1,200 full-time U.S. employees who are working from home during the pandemic) want to keep working remotely. More than 45 percent said their employers are actively considering, or are open to, this strategy. Among respondents, 40 percent had been telecommuting regularly at least one day per week before COVID-19.

Not all workers in the U.S. have that option. Most Americans living in rural areas don't have access to Internet that is fast enough to be able to work remotely, CNN reported. One example it cited was a middle-school history teacher who drives 20 minutes from her home to sit in her school's parking lot so she can send e-mails, open Google Drive files, upload lessons or have Zoom calls with other teachers. 

SHRM Online has collected the following stories from its archives and other trusted sources about post-pandemic telecommuting. 

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

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. Barton's 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.
(The Real Deal)   

Telecommuting Will Likely Continue Long after Pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic is, among other things, a massive experiment in telecommuting. While some jobs can't be done at home, the outbreak is accelerating the trend toward telecommuting, possibly for the long term. Until now, telecommuting has been slower to take hold than many predicted when remote work technology first emerged. This inertia probably reflects sticky work cultures as well as a lack of interest from employers in investing in the technology and management practices necessary to operate a tele-workforce.
(Brookings Institute Press)   


SHRM Resource Spotlight
Coronavirus and COVID-19

Work-at-Home after COVID-19: Our Forecast 

What is your work-from-home forecast for after Covid-19? Global Workplace Analytics, a research and consulting service focusing on workplace flexibility strategies such as telework, predicts that the longer people are required to work at home, the greater the adoption of it when the pandemic is over. The company estimates that 56 percent of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible (at least partially) with remote work. It pointed to Gallup data from 2016 that shows that 43 percent of the workforce works at home at least some of the time.
(Global Workforce Analytics)  

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)


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