Since the coronavirus pandemic began, more employers are adapting to allow their staff to work remotely. Google plans to let its employees work at home until at least July 2021.
The majority of the company’s 200,000 staffers around the world have been allowed to work remotely since March 2020. Previously, the tech giant had told employees that they should expect to work from home through the end of the year.
The decision to extend that policy has been influenced, in part, by uncertainty surrounding the upcoming school year. As many schools prepare for more distance learning, parents face childcare obstacles, making the ability to work from home even more of a benefit.
“To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we’ll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021, for roles that don’t need to be in the office,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a memo to employees obtained by CNN Business. Alphabet is Google’s parent company. “I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months.”
Experts believe the extended policy will have an impact on the industry at large, as other companies may follow suit in order to stay competitive. Additionally, Google may help lead the way to permanent changes in the workplace.
“If all its people can operate for a year remotely, maybe a year from now they will say: ‘Maybe we don’t need all this office space after,'” Mauro Guillén, a management professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told CNN Business.
Social media companies Twitter and Facebook have announced that some employees will be able to work remotely indefinitely.
Siemens, a German manufacturing company, has announced that 140,000 of its employees can work remotely two or three days a week.
In a July 16 tweet, Roland Busch, deputy CEO and labor director of Siemens, explained that the pandemic has “given us a chance to reshape our world and reimagine work”:
#covid19 gives us a chance to reshape our world and reimagine work. To empower @Siemens employees to perform their best, our #newnormal working model will offer 2-3 days mobile working. #FutureofWork #DigitalTransformation https://t.co/Up6okRkufa
— Roland Busch (@BuschRo) July 16, 2020
Such moves will influence not only the business sector but the industries that support them, like commercial real estate, transportation and local operations (like restaurants) that depend on commercial traffic.