Twitter, Square, Shopify and Facebook employees were told they can work from home even after the pandemic ends.
“As we’ve become accustomed to working outside the office, it’s become clear that we don’t need everyone to be physically present to do great work,” Lori Goler, vice president of people at Facebook said in a post on Thursday “From now on, we are moving toward making remote work a more permanent part of our culture.”
Shopify SHOP, +2.84% Chief Executive Tobi Lutke echoed Facebook’s FB, +1.52% announcement tweeting later that day that “office centricity is over” and most workers should expect to permanently work from home well after the pandemic.
Twitter, however, was the first major company to announce a permanent work-from-home option. “Opening offices will be our decision, when and if our employees come back, will be theirs,” states a Twitter post from May 12.
The work-from-home options may not be applicable to or, indeed, welcomed by all workers. If you work at Facebook and you move to a cheaper city you may have to take a pay cut, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees on Thursday.
For instance, roles related to office security or in-office operations can only be performed in the office, a Square SQ, spokeswoman told MarketWatch. Similarly, a Twitter spokeswoman said that employees who work in data centers won’t be able to work remotely once it is safe for them to return to work.
Other companies like Google GOOG, +0.54% GOOGL, +0.46%, Visa V, +0.12% and American Express AXP, -0.55% have gone ahead and told workers they continue to be working from home well into next year. There’s no word on whether they will allow workers to permanently work from home.
“Visa continues to closely monitor COVID-19 and its impact globally, while prioritizing the health and well-being of our employees,” said Will Stickney, a Visa spokesman. “As a result, we expect a majority of Visa’s workforce will continue to work from home through the 2020 calendar year.”
(American Express declined to comment. Google and Shopify did not respond to requests for comment.)
Certainly, there are benefits to working from home — you don’t have to worry about getting caught in traffic and showing up late to a meeting. Perhaps your coworker who leaves the office microwave a mess or who tries to walk over others to get ahead will no longer come into the office.
But that decision may come with some significant costs. Consider these pros and cons:
Pro: You could save up to $5,000 in commuting costs
Depending on what state you’re from, you could spend between $2,000 and $5,000 a year on commuting, according to calculations by Business Insider based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. You could also save you a total of 9.4 days a year from the time spent commuting, according to an May survey of nearly 3,000 American workers published by Global Workplace Analytics, a San Diego-based workplace consultancy firm.
That means you could wake up later, spend less on gasoline, said Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. It may even make sense to get rid of your car altogether, she said. Lister said she sold her car after she began working from home years before coronavirus. She now shares one car with her husband. (To calculate the total amount of money you could save by teleworking check out this employee savings calculator)
Con: You may end up having to pay for your own WiFi and electricity
Employees at Square and Facebook may not be compensated for work-related costs if they choose to work from home on a daily basis. (Both companies declined to comment.) Twitter TWTR, +0.86% employees, however, will be compensated for the cost of Wi-Fi and receive a stipend for their at-home office setup, a spokeswoman said.
“The costs of potentially upgrading to speedier Wi-Fi, acquiring office supplies and setting up an ergonomic-friendly workspace could add up if your employer is unable to offer additional financial support,” said Sarah Stoddard, a Glassdoor career trends expert. But the amount you’re saving on commuting should make up for that cost, Lister added.
Pro: You could move to a city where rent is cheaper
Typically non-remote workers live in areas close to where they work. That often means a high cost of living, especially in cities like New York or San Francisco. Even if you still plan on going into your office once a week, an hour drive may not be all the bad when you factor in how much you could save, Lister said. Your company, like Facebook, may insist you take a pay cut to compensate for that.
Con: You may miss out on brainstorming or a promotion
If you’re teleworking, it may be harder for you to impress your boss, which may mean losing out on a promotion, Stoddard said. But you can find new ways to demonstrate your involvement and impact at work if you choose to permanently work from home. “Even minor tactics like turning on your video during virtual meetings, providing an additional perspective in email threads and delivering timely status reports to your manager can go a long way,” she said.
Con: You may lose out on social aspects of work
Research shows that socialization at work can lead to a less stressful work environment. By working from home you may miss out on happy hours, birthday celebrations and casual one-on-one lunches with coworkers. There’s also a lot to be said for office banter and brainstorming over the water cooler, workplace consultants say, and you would be saved from the seemingly endless deluge of daily Slack WORK, +0.22% messages.