COVID-19 Adjustments May Transform Tech Jobs into Remote Work
After more than 8 weeks of nonessential businesses being locked down, reopening is making people nervous on both sides of the issue. Nervous for the sake of our public health and nervous for the sake of our crashing economy.
Writer James Temple wrote in technologyreview.com of what workers might be facing upon returning to their jobs. Many reopening businesses will be asking workers to take coronavirus tests, report symptoms, don masks, wear dongles, and work under the gaze of new sensors and cameras.
The San Francisco-based Salesforce, says all of its 49,000 employees can continue working from home for the rest of the year. But as the area lifts stay-at-home rules and the company reopens in phases, employees who are cleared to return will begin by logging online for a daily wellness check. Elevators are of particular concern.
“We realized almost right away there was a choke point, and that was the elevator,” says Elizabeth Pinkham, head of global real estate at Salesforce. Staggering arrival times for the company’s employees, who number more than 8,000 in San Francisco alone, was “the only way we’d be able to manage this giant Jenga puzzle.”
The New York Times reported that Facebook will allow many employees to work from home permanently. But there’s a catch: They may not be able to keep their big Silicon Valley salaries in more affordable parts of the country.
If other giant companies follow suit, tech employment could start to shift away from expensive hubs like Silicon Valley, Seattle and New York. The option to work from home could also provide more reason for tech workers who complain that their enviable salaries still aren’t enough to buy a home in San Francisco or San Jose to consider settling in other parts of the country, the Times reported:
“It’s clear that Covid has changed a lot about our lives, and that certainly includes the way that most of us work,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Coming out of this period, I expect that remote work is going to be a growing trend as well.”
Has your company or place of employment revealed what changes they are planning to implement when you return to your position? The success or failure of these workplace experiments will help determine how safe reopening really is, and how quickly the economy could get back on track. But the radically redesigned workplaces will also raise concerns about employee privacy and may pose legal liabilities.
Aaron Levie, the chief executive of the business technology company Box, wrote on Twitter that “the push happening around remote work is as game-changing for the future of tech as the launch of the iPhone” more than a decade ago.
read more at technologyreview.com