The fact that a growing number of us are now working from home, with no indication of slowing down, is no longer considered novel. Hearing about extensions of the remote work policy no longer catches us by surprise, instead it grants us peace of mind as we brace ourselves for our next online meeting. Given our ability to work efficiently from home, it is no longer necessary nor desirable for us to return to the traditional office setting.
In the United States, remote work has become increasingly common in the past year, with over 50% of the labour force now working remotely. This trend doesn’t seem to be waning, with several major corporations announcing their intention to maintain a remote work policy in the long run. This change has had a substantial impact on the way we work, and the following section provides a summary of how it works.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, informed all employees via email in early May that they were free to work remotely for as long as they wished. The move was influenced by the company’s focus on decentralization and promoting the ability to work from anywhere. This decision by Twitter established a new benchmark for highlighting the appeal of remote work, and suggests that the company is committed to pursuing this strategy in the long term.
As Jack Dorsey serves as CEO of both Square and Twitter, Square did not waste any time following Twitter’s lead and implemented “remote work” as a recognised alternative. They even went so far as to use the word “permanent” in their official statement.
Facebook has recently communicated that their employees can work from home until July 2021, as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During a live stream, CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that this action not only addresses the pandemic, but also marks recognition of the future of work. Zuckerberg mentioned that concentrating jobs in a few large cities limits opportunities for individuals from different regions and social backgrounds. To address this, he proposed that remote work could be used as a tool for promoting “more varied economic growth”. Facebook will henceforth make a firm move to boost the hiring of remote employees, aiming to have up to 50% of their workforce functioning remotely in the next five to ten years.
To address the ongoing COVID pandemic, CEO Sundar Pichai of Google has notified employees that they can choose to work from home until July 2021. In a letter addressed to his team, Pichai expressed his concern for the impact that the pandemic would have on families, especially in terms of providing home-schooling for children. He hopes that the remote work policy will grant employees the freedom to manage their work and personal responsibilities better, including their family obligations.
Following Twitter’s lead, Shopify granted its employees the option to continue working remotely, beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic. CEO Tobi Lutke is not only dealing with the present crisis but is also planning for the future of work. Through a tweet, Lutke expressed his belief that “COVID is forcing us to work collaboratively, in new and innovative ways,” and that we cannot afford to turn back time. He further suggested that we shouldn’t let the tide of change engulf us – instead, we should be the ones taking charge of the situation. Lutke makes it clear that the conventional idea of the centrality of office work is no longer valid. The future is now, and we must adapt and welcome it.
Being a Works engineer currently proves to be most fruitful, with well-known tech companies now implementing long-term remote work policies. The world is experiencing a period of significant growth, and Works engineers stand a good chance of taking advantage of the ever-increasing remote job opportunities in Silicon Valley, with more such positions opening up. As Mark Zuckerberg rightly stated, it is crucial to recognise the valuable contributions of talented programmers from “diverse communities with different backgrounds and perspectives”. It’s high time to fully embrace, rather than exclude, exceptional individuals from all walks of life.