Oct 14, 2020 - Technology

More tech companies plan to let workers stay remote post-pandemic

Illustration of office chair on a “welcome” home mat

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A growing number of tech companies say workers need not ever come back to the office if they don't want to. The move comes as pandemic-related closures have already kept many tech workers out of the office for months.

Why it matters: Technology's spread into every corner of the broader economy keeps boosting demand for workers with tech skills. That pushes employers to accommodate tech talent wherever they find it.

Driving the news: Dropbox said Tuesday it will become a "virtual-first" company that allows workers to telecommute. The company plans to open new drop-in offices called "Dropbox Studios" once it can do so safely.

  • Microsoft is letting more employees work from home permanently, as The Verge reported last week.
  • Twitter and Square, both led by Jack Dorsey, have said employees can work from home permanently, while Facebook said employees who want to permanently telecommute can request to do so.

Between the lines: Tech companies once lured workers with the fanciest offices and best perks. Now, companies increasingly feel they need a work-from-home option to stay competitive.

  • The move also allows workers to live anywhere and enables companies to recruit from throughout the country and world, rather than be tied to places where they have physical offices.

Yes, but: Workers who move from pricey areas like the Bay Area or New York may see their salaries cut to reflect their more affordable living circumstances.

The big picture: Flexible remote work policies may be helping companies retain employees, too, according to data from recruiting technology firm TopFunnel shared with Axios' Ashley Gold.

  • According to TopFunnel's data, Pinterest, Square and Twitter employees all became less likely to reply to recruiters after work-from-home-friendly policies were announced.
  • Facebook's early embrace of remote work has also resulted in its employees being less likely to reply to recruiters now.

Microsoft, which recently announced a hybrid permanent work from home policy, was an outlier: its employees have been replying to outside recruiters at a higher rate than before.

  • My thought bubble: That could be a sign that Microsoft's workers, concentrated far from Silicon Valley in Seattle, are seeing additional opportunities in a work-from-home world that they can pursue without having to move.
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