The State of Remote Work Q3 Report - September 2020

State of the Remote Work Reports


In the aftermath of the COVID-19 remote work “experiment,” the world’s top companies have learned how to evolve in the virtual space to continue business as usual.

So we’ll examine all the ways the remote work landscape has and will continue to change over the next few months (and years!) in this first of many reports we plan to share on the subject.

This report highlights the most significant and emerging trends, how the biggest companies are tackling work-from-home measures, and what you can expect from the new remote work shift.

The Top 5 Remote Work Trends

1. Remote Work Finally Gains Credibility

It used to be only stay-at-home parents, travel bloggers, and YouTube/Twitch streamers who got to boast about working remotely. But TL;DR as more companies go remote, the amount of remote jobs being posted is growing just as fast. Now small-to-medium sized companies are capitalizing on the fact that most US job seekers want remote positions.

2. Coronavirus Creates a New “Normal” for All Workers

The difference between 'working remotely' and 'working remotely during a pandemic' was distinguished. While many companies were of course challenged with the sudden nature of being forced to go remote, overall, COVID-19 normalized an all-remote work style. Gone are the days when working remotely was seen as a “special” privilege. Many businesses expect to continue trends like offering a flexible work schedule and the option to work out-of-the-office or at home all the time, even after the pandemic subsides.

3. Remote Work Becomes The Poster Child for a Brighter Future 

Another report
on remote work trends paints this style of working as better for employees, businesses, and the environment. With higher productivity and retention rates, and lower costs and environmental impact (i.e., no commuting!), many believe remote workplaces could usher in a brighter future for everyone.

4. The Hybrid Work Style Will Evolve

Even if a full-time remote work policy isn’t adopted by everyone, a hybrid style of work will be. This bodes well for people who want to work remotely part-time and escape their house every so often.

5. The Big City Flight Provides a Boost To Struggling Small Towns

As remote work trends continue, people will leave big, expensive cities like New York and San Francisco in favor of small towns with more affordable housing and living costs. With more tax dollars in these areas, and the rise of entrepreneurship, Main Street may finally get the revitalization locals have been hoping for.

How COVID-19 Impacted the State of Remote Work

Although remote work experienced steady growth in the last couple of decades, nothing compares to the expansion Coronavirus triggered.

As CNBC reported, the pandemic became the tipping point for remote work as many businesses were forced into managing a virtual office to keep employees safe from spreading the virus while allowing them to continue performing their job duties and responsibilities.

However, the report questions whether remote work will be permanent or just a byproduct of the “interim economy,” a term used to describe the theoretical two years it could take the economy to bounce back after shutdowns and quarantines.

While CNBC said 74% of CFOs and finance leaders surveyed admit they’d move 5% of their on-site workforce to permanent remote roles, we found plenty of other companies and statistics that prove otherwise.

As you’ll see in this report, remote work may not be as temporary as CNBC predicts — especially for Fortune 500 and blue-chip companies.

18 Prominent Companies That Went Remote Since Coronavirus Hit

It isn’t just small businesses and independent contractors switching to a remote work style.

These leading companies almost everyone is familiar with have successfully transitioned to remote work since the beginning of COVID-19. And many have plans to stay that way well into 2021, such as:
1. On August 4th, 2020, Uber announced that its employees (i.e., not drivers) would be working from home through June 2021. The company also said they’d be providing each team member with a $500 stipend to upgrade their home office.

2. Microsoft had plans to reopen its offices in October of 2020. However, the tech giant has since pushed their back-to-office day to January 2021.

3. Reuters plans to follow a similar path as Microsoft by opening its offices in January 2021. Until then, they’re allowing all employees to continue working from home.

4. Twitter fully embraced work-from-home measures and announced that its employees will be working from home indefinitely. The company also canceled in-person events and travel until 2021.

5. Square execs retweeted the Twitter plan, deciding to keep their employees at-home for the foreseeable future too.

6. Facebook hasn’t disclosed their ultimate game plan and continues to keep employees guessing about whether they’ll work from home or return to in-house work.

7. Salesforce decided to leave the decision up to their team members. Now, employees can opt to work from home through 2020 or show up for work at one of their 160 office locations.

8. Amazon allowed their employees to work from home until October initially. Now the behemoth has plans to return their employees to work by January 8, 2021. However, this could change, given the expected rise in new cases before the end of the year.

9. Spotify is following a similar path to Amazon: employees can work from home until 2021, but it will only re-open offices according to what the government allows in each city.

10. Coinbase isn’t taking any chances. Their team has decided on a permanent work-from-home status. While they will allow people to work in-house if they choose to, most roles will stay remote, as Business Insider reports.

11. The Mastercard crew has no intention of returning to the office right now. They’ll remain remote until employees feel comfortable commuting and working together again.

12. Nationwide employees are also permanently working from home. The company mentioned plans to downsize their 20 brick-and-mortar locations to just four as a result.

13. Leaders at Slack are putting the decision to return to the office in their employees’ hands. Team members can choose whether they want to permanently work from home, work flexibly, or return to their desks full-time.

14. Upwork’s CEO announced on Twitter that their workforce will “embrace a ‘remote-first’ model” until the foreseeable future.

15. Zillow, as you’ll hear more about later in this report, has given its employees the option to work from home throughout the rest of 2020.

16. So far, Adobe has plans to work remotely until October 2020, but this could change since the pandemic is still raging here in the US.

17. eCommerce platform, Shopify will allow its 5,000 employees to work from home indefinitely, even after the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic fade and cities lift shutdowns.

18. Gartner recently mentioned that up to 41% of employees will continue to work remotely even after the Covid pandemic.

Case Study: One Company That Didn’t Believe In Remote Work Now Says It’s The Best Option

Meet Zillow, the online real estate database with listings for rentals and homes for sale. Zillow execs “historically discouraged employees from working from home” because they didn’t want their employees to rely on virtual communications. They strongly felt face-time and in-house collaboration were the keys to the company’s success. But then the pandemic hit. And Zillow quickly adapted to give its 5,400 employees the green light to work-from-home. Indefinitely.

Rather than merely switching work locales, Zillow took an active stance to create flexible work policies that emphasized the need to keep employees supported, safe, and productive, as their site mentions.

Part of this policy meant that 90% of employees could work from home on-going and at least part-time.

Zillow has recently added another 500 employees — all of whom are remote — and the company has no plans to return to the office until they’re given the all-clear.

10 Viral News Articles About Remote Work

The world became more familiar with remote work during 2020, and media outlets helped normalize the shift by encouraging employees to jump on board this new train of thinking.

Here’s what the latest and highest-trending news articles had to say about remote work:

1. 6 Important Remote Work Statistics To Know in 2020

2. Is It Time To Kiss The Office Goodbye? The Upsides Of Remote Work Are Winning The Hearts Of Employees — And Their Bosses

3. 'I'll Never Work The Same Way Again:' One Co-Founder's Remote Work Experiments

4. It's Been 6 Months Of Working From Home. Here's What We've Learned

5. The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically6. Is Remote Work Good Or Bad For Employee Engagement? Your Leadership Holds The Answer

7. Is Remote Work Here To Stay?

8. Is Your Organization Ready for Permanent WFH?

9. Zoom Profits Skyrocket 3,300% On Remote Work Trend

10. How Remote Work Will Transform The Innovation Landscape And Establish A New Kind Of Entrepreneur

Final Thoughts On The Current State And Future Of Remote Work ✌️

While the pandemic has certainly nudged more businesses to the remote side, this clearly won’t be the end of the trend.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 remote work experiment, employers saw firsthand how their remote employees became more productive, happier, and less stressed. They even witnessed significant financial savings by reducing their costly office overhead.

Now that our current environment is geared towards remote work, and everyone’s getting a handle on how to perform best in these new conditions, we think remote work will become the new norm.

We’ll revisit this topic in the next few months to see how the landscape changes. Tune in for our next report to see if our predictions come true!

← Back to Blog