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Tech Giants Shift to More Remote Working for the Long Term

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As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the globe, and many tech industry employees get used to working from home, large tech companies are making long-term decisions about allowing and encouraging their people to work remotely.

Facebook announced a 10-year plan to move most of its workforce to working remotely. Twitter is encouraging its employees to work from home forever. Shopify is going all in on remote work with no plans to bring people back to working in offices.

These changes will have a lasting impact on the companies, their employees and the communities they currently have offices in. Facebook used to pay a $15,000 bonus for people to move to within 10 miles of their headquarters. In an interview with The Verge, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they are immediately opening up remote hiring for all new roles, and then they will allow existing people to request a shift to working remotely at some point.

A USA today examination of the topic says that:

Such a shift might also amount to a repudiation of the notion that creative work demands corporate campuses reminiscent of college, with free food, ping pong tables and open office plans designed to encourage unplanned interactions.

The result could re-imagine not just Silicon Valley but other cities as the companies expand hiring in places like Atlanta, Dallas and Denver, where Facebook plans to open new hubs for its new, mostly remote hires.

Microsoft has extended their current work from home directive until at least October 2020, and is exploring options for the longer term. In an interview with the New York Times, CEO Satya Nadella expressed his concerns about the potential loss of social interaction and community elements of being in person:

What does burnout look like? What does mental health look like? What does that connectivity and the community building look like? One of the things I feel is, hey, maybe we are burning some of the social capital we built up in this phase where we are all working remote. What’s the measure for that?

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