One of the largest tech companies in the world, Google ($GOOG) is delaying the reopening of its domestic offices until September 7. Despite earlier claims by both CEO Sundar Pichai and VP of Global Security Chris Rackow that things would settle back to normal after the 4th of July weekend, the company is clearly playing it by ear and easing off of its initial plans.
An internal memo sent to employees said the following: “While conditions do vary from state to state, we need to see that the U.S. outlook as a whole is stable before we move forward. As the recent resurgence of cases demonstrates, Covid-19 is still very much alive in our communities. For all of you that are working from home, please continue to do so unless you are told otherwise by your manager. We don’t expect this guidance to change until Monday, September 7 (Labor Day) at the earliest.”
With the way things are looking in this country right now... yikes; we don't buy that employees will want or be allowed to return to office life in September. In fact, a lot of businesses and industries banking on a "return to normalcy" come fall will find that this is the new normal as thousands more get sick. Without a government plan and cases rising everywhere, here are all the employees left stranded working from home for these major tech and social media companies.
What Facebook, Twitter, and Google have to reckon with is the sheer logistical nightmare of what they've harbored. Having a lot of employees in various offices around the country means COVID will affect them all at different levels of severity, and it’s not likely that once-thriving cities like New York or San Francisco will suddenly be immune when millions pour back into crowded streets or apartments.
There is a very real and dangerous possibility that companies asking employees to return en masse this fall will lead to another spike in cases. It’s inevitable, and we have to start questioning if office life and hiring this year and next year should be overhauled just to keep everyone safe.
It's clear that job postings dipped and haven't returned to normal. Which means these tech giants are either hedging their bets on the economy going into a full-blown recession or even depression going forward and want to clear up some money on payrolls, OR they're having trouble hiring at full capacity without in-person onboarding and training. Or both.
Twitter ($TWTR) has already been adding "remote" to more and more job listings, either in job titles or job descriptions, according to our data. Part-time Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey himself said that employees would be allowed to work from home indefinitely because working on a website can be done 100% remotely.
If an employee is "in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen." We wonder if that comment will come back to haunt Twitter a year from now, or if that's the smartest move a company can afford to make if it doesn't literally need anyone to physically be present.
Facebook's ($FB) overall number of open positions has been on the downward curve for a while, and they've begun putting the following warning on all their job listings:
"COVID-19 update: Protecting the health and safety of our communities—including our teams and of those considering a career at Facebook—is our highest priority. We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation and we appreciate your understanding and flexibility with any related changes to our interviewing process. Learn how our teams are helping to keep people safe, informed, and connected."
Doesn't sound like anyone is coming into the office any time soon.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.