Last March, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. People were sent home from their jobs, social distancing guidelines were outlined state by state, county by county, and the workplace as we knew it changed dramatically (almost) overnight.
For those who didn’t have a home office, the dining room table or living room became the new workplace. Zoom meetings became the new way to communicate in fellow groups — often with curious pets as special guests — and new systems were implemented to share work on projects.
This month marks a year living through the pandemic, and many of these changes are here to stay. Particularly in the technology industry, where flexibility and comfort have always been a priority, many companies have decided to focus on their employees’ needs.
Rather than return to work, many tech employees will continue to have remote work from home jobs. For several of these companies, remote work jobs will become long-term or even permanent options for employees.
Major Technology Companies Have Made Their Decision
Early on during the pandemic, many big technology companies came to a quick decision on what the future of their business would look like.
Rather than focus on potential hypotheticals or uncertain possibilities, many major tech companies implemented a more flexible approach. For example, last May Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted that Shopify would keep its office closed until 2021 and afterward become permanently remote.
“We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup,” tweeted Lutke.
Google also decided employees would continue to work remotely through July 2021. According to the Wall Street Journal, this would affect nearly 200,000 employees and served to provide some ease for employees with families.
Other companies that have followed suit and also implemented indefinite work from home policies include Facebook, Twitter, and Slack.
In addition to offering current employees remote work from home jobs, some companies are also hiring new employees under these conditions. For instance, Facebook will be hiring and adding U.S.-based remote technical positions.
Twitter has also made a similar choice. The social media site has begun to post tech jobs that can be done from anywhere in the U.S.
Why Are Companies Implementing More Work From Home Jobs?
According to research from Prodoscore conducted during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, productivity has increased among remote workers. The data found productivity increased 47 percent this past year in comparison to March/April 2020.
“The common assumption is that remote workers are less productive than those who are in a traditional office. But our ability to capture, integrate, and analyze workplace data shows otherwise,” said Crisantos Hajibrahim, chief product officer at Prodoscore in a press release.
Furthermore, having flexible work options can help support mental health and reduce work-related stress, according to research by Mental Health America.
Many technology companies have realized that a traditional work environment may not be ideal during this time of uncertainty. However, a sense of security and certainty can alleviate some stress among employees.
New Challenges As More Work From Home
Even though working from home creates more productivity and less stress, it also brings in new challenges that will need to be addressed.
According to the Technology and Evolving World of Work Global Research Study by Lenovo, some of the top challenges workers from home face include a reduced personal connection with coworkers, difficulties in work-life/home life separation, and getting easily distracted. Furthermore, another significant concern addressed in the report was device security.
While some of these challenges, such as work-life/home life separation, can be addressed once local areas begin to phase out of pandemic social distancing measures, other areas will need to be tackled by tech companies.
First and foremost, tech leaders will have to find ways to address device security to prevent the possibility of breaches and hacking. Without a timely solution, this could pose dire consequences for the industry as a whole.
Furthermore, implementing adequate alternatives to traditional training and communication will be key to creating an even more productive and successful remote work environment.
The Future of Remote Work From Home Jobs in Tech
In all, many tech companies have made their decision. Remote work from home jobs are no longer temporary — they are here to stay.
However, tech companies will also have to address new hurdles to work toward building a better remote working future. How these challenges are addressed will show whether large-scale work from home jobs are a successful alternative to a traditional work environment. It may even provide a glimpse into what a post-COVID-19 work environment will be like.
Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.