With millions of Americans working from home successfully, major companies are discussing a permanent shift to telecommuting and reduced office space.
Due to the coronavirus and nationwide stay-at-home orders, companies have been forced to embrace telecommuting. With more than two months of evidence at hand, companies are seeing that productivity has not suffered, and the need for employees to commute is not necessary.
Telecommuting also allows companies to save money from what many expect to be a prolonged economic slump.
Last week, Nationwide Insurance announced a plan to permanently transition to telecommuting operations in four main corporate campuses and working-from-home in most other locations.
“We’ve been investing in our technological capabilities for years, and those investments really paid off when we needed to transition quickly to a 98% work-from-home model,” Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker said in a press release. “Our associates and our technology team have proven to us that we can serve our members and partners with extraordinary care with a large portion of our team working from home.”
The company plans to close offices in Gainesville, Florida, Harleysville, Pennsylvania, Raleigh, North Carolina; Wausau, Wisconsin; and Richmond, Virginia; and move employees to permanent telecommuting positions.
Food giant Mondelēz said during an earnings call Tuesday, it will go through adjustments that will make it easier for the company to function during a recession, including a reassessment of where people work.
“Maybe we don’t need all the offices that we currently have around the world. So there is a major effort going, taking place as it relates to the costs in the business,” the Mondelēz CEO said according to CNBC.
Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said he doesn’t know what the future of work will be but added the company would need “much less real estate” in the future. The company said 90% of employees have been working from home during the pandemic
“We’ve proven we can operate with no footprint,” Gorman said in a recent Bloomberg interview. “Can I see a future where part of every week, certainly part of every month, a lot of our employees will be at home? Absolutely.”
Once reserved for freelancers and new businesses, telecommuting has skyrocketed since the coronavirus pandemic started. However, only 20% of African Americans and 16% of Hispanics have the ability to work from home.