A survey finds more than two-thirds of companies may be working from home forever

mavo/ShutterstockThe office may stay empty forever.
  • A new survey from 451 Research found that 67% of respondents expect that their work-from-home policies will become permanent, or at least remain in place for the long term.
  • Companies including Twitter and Square have already told employees they can work from home permanently.
  • And offices that do remain will probably shrink: 47% of respondents say their organisations are likely to reduce their physical office footprint.
  • A quarter of respondents’ companies plan on waiting a month or more before reopening – and 24% don’t have a timeline for reopening yet.
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You’re probably tired of hearing that remote work is here to stay. But new survey data points to just that.

A new survey from 451 Research – a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence – that polled 575 IT decision-makers from a range of industries found that 67% of respondents expect work-from-home policies will remain in place permanently or at least for the long term.

Companies including Twitter and Square have already told their employees that they can work from home permanently. And there could be benefits for workers at the companies that do go completely virtual, like feeling happier on the whole, and having more freedom in commuting and housing.


Read more: Your job is never going to be the same again

And for the employees who may be returning to an in-person workplace, a return to normal still may not happen anytime soon: The survey found that 20% of respondents said their organisations would continue through at least 2021 with altered working conditions – including remote work, protective gear, and social distancing.

If they do return, there may also just be less office to return to: 47% of respondents said their companies are likely to reduce their physical office footprint.

“A return to the 2019 normal isn’t going to be possible for organisations,” John Beattie, a disaster-recovery expert, previously told Business Insider’s Lisa Rabasca Roepe.

And, with extensive safety measures required to reopen offices safely, it makes sense that companies aren’t clamoring to reopen.

While the survey found that around 19% of organisations want to send workers back as soon as they’re allowed to, 25% plan on waiting a month or more – and 24% don’t have a timeline yet.

Even if workplaces do open, workers may still opt to stay at home. Just look at Boston: workplaces were allowed to reopen at 25% capacity in early June, and buildings prepared to enforce safety measures.

There was just one problem: Almost no one showed up.

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