Technology

Respawn point: The inevitable reincarnation of the corporate office

If you're back in the office, <a href=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyUnSuYYs18 data-recalc-dims=this helpful song will help you remember the cardinal rule of social distancing.”>

Enlarge / If you’re back in the office, this helpful song will help you remember the cardinal rule of social distancing. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

If you told any executive at a major corporation in mid-2019 that close to half of the US workforce would be working from home within the next year, they would have at least raised a skeptical eyebrow (and then probably called security to have you removed). Yet, here we are.

Major technology companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, have closed their physical offices until well into 2021. Twitter has told many employees that they can work from home permanently. And now that we have nearly six months of involuntary widespread work-from-home behind us, many other organizations are also reconsidering the value of office space.

In April, a Gallup poll showed 62 percent of the workforce working from home, and 59 percent hoping they could continue to do so as much as possible once the pandemic is under control. While the numbers have since dropped to some degree—Stanford Institute for Economic Research figures in June showed only 42 percent of the US workforce working from home full-time—the fact remains that people’s relationship with their workplace has been dramatically restructured, perhaps permanently.

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