How long will we actually be working from home?

Tech giants like Google, Amazon and Spotify have extended WFH policies until 2021 while others have created a more permanent solution


As companies continue to allow remote working for employees, many are left wondering just how long we will be working from home.

Google recently announced that it is extending its working from home policy until June 2021, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This will affect about 200,000 employees and has put extended pressure on other large tech companies to follow suit.

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Following Facebook's lead

In May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook employees will be remotely working for the rest of 2020, with many given the option to WFH indefinitely.

Companies like Twitter and Square have also announced a permanent WFH policy, giving a long-term option to employees, but others have been more hesitant to move in this direction.

As of now, Amazon and Spotify staff are allowed to work from home until 2021, after which Spotify will allow offices to reopen city-by-city, according to government guidelines.

Microsoft, however, has said its employees are only allowed to WFH until October of this year.

Pros and cons

A recent survey conducted by UK-based startup network Founders Forum asked hundreds of founders and their teams about their remote work experiences and their post-pandemic business plans.

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About 34 per cent of people said they were due back in the office in one to three months, 39 per cent said they were due back in three to six months and 13 per cent are back in six to 12 months.

Just six per cent have followed Facebook and Twitter’s lead and are allowed to WFH indefinitely. This remote working lifestyle has had various pros and cons for employees.

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In the survey, the number one pro of working from home was increased family time, followed by no commute and improved focus and productivity. 

When asked about the downside, 73 per cent of respondents said they missed office interactions and over half said they missed face-to-face collaborations.

While many said their work-life balance had improved, their work-life separation had become increasingly difficult working from home.

A remote future

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A majority of company founders (86 per cent) said they plan on implementing a new remote work policy, allowing for a mix of remote and in-office work.

This would likely involve three to five days of remote work a week, with a couple dedicated in-office days for the entire team. 

This could be an ideal solution for those struggling with work-life separation and lack of social interaction if offices could guarantee reduced capacity and social distancing measures.

However, the question of requirement remains. Should offices require in-office working or should it be an additional option for employees who are having a difficult time working from home?

As schools reopen in the autumn and offices follow suit, we will have to wait and see what options are available to employees across the country.

 

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