The New Work-From-Home Economy

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis lately. And the one thing I keep coming back to is the new work-from-home trend. This is going to change our economy in ways we can’t even imagine yet.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently said that up to 50% of their employees could be working remotely on a permanent basis within five to ten years.

“When you limit hiring to people who live in a small number of big cities, or who are willing to move there, that cuts out a lot of people who live in different communities, have different backgrounds, have different perspectives,” Zuckerberg said in a weekly livestream with employees.

Facebook already has plans to build “hubs” of remote employees in areas like Dallas, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Philadelphia.

Another big tech company, Shopify SHOP, went even further. Here’s what founder Tobi Lutke posted on Twitter.

As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.

And Twitter itself recently said that employees have the option to work from home permanently.

I expect many more companies will use a similar strategy.

New Tools for a New Era

This crisis, almost overnight, created a massive shift in work habits. Millions of people were suddenly forced to work remotely.

And many tech-savvy companies are adjusting well to the change. Most people in the tech world already use Slack (or Microsoft Teams), Zoom, cloud document hosting, and other tools that help remote employees stay connected.

Companies who are new to such tools have been forced to adapt quickly. Email isn’t enough for most businesses in this situation. You need more ways to communicate and stay connected. The companies that provide those services stand to reap huge rewards.

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Kurt Benson 1 month ago Member's comment

As a business owner, I can say that working from home is not for everyone. Simply put, quite a few folks aren't disciplined enough to work with the distractions, etc. While my employees can do their work from home, I've noticed a marked reduction in the productivity of many. For those with kids, it's even worse. Yet I see from their posts on Facebook, that their time spent on social media and discussing the latest Netflix shows is way up.