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How The COVID-19 Crisis Could Spark Permanent Work-From-Home Movement

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How The COVID-19 Crisis Could Spark Permanent Work-From-Home Movement
  • More Americans are working from home than ever before.
  • Twitter, Facebook and other tech companies have offered employees the option of continuing to work from home.
  • Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, working from home was a rapidly growing trend.

The COVID-19 outbreak has made a major impact on the American workforce. In addition to unemployment swelling to more than 20 million by May, many workers face a dramatically different workplace. Among the most remarkable workplace changes caused by the pandemic: the sudden need for many people to begin working from home.

Even before the outbreak, about 5 million (3.6%) of workers worked from home at least half the time, up from about 2 million in 2005.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused this figure to increase even further, with many new at-home workers believing that they will likely not return to the office for months — or even years. 

Some companies like Twitter have decided to allow their employees to continue working from home for as long as they want. Other companies like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) have decided to shift toward a long-term work structure that is characterized largely by working from home.

Employers have noticed that — in addition to limiting in-person contact, as has been recommended by the CDC — having their employees work from home may potentially reduce some costs.

At the same time, employees have often named the lack of commitment and increased level of freedom they find at home as notable benefits.

As Twitter’s (NYSE: TWTR) Jack Dorsey helped said: “we were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere. The past few months have proven we can make that work.”

While the work-from-home movement has largely been driven by the tech industry, other industries — such as marketing, law and finance — are making the shift too.

 

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