Companies have different plans on how and when their employees will return to the office

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How and When Will the Largest U.S. Companies Return to the Office?

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This post was last updated May 5th, 2021.

On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. And, as a result of containment measures, daily life underwent necessary changes, including a switch to working from home (WFH) for a considerable share of the population. Although a return to the office — either total or partial through hybrid work policies — was discussed early on in the pandemic, it was repeatedly delayed.

Now, with much better knowledge of how the virus operates and vaccination efforts in full swing, a transition back to working from the office (WFO) seems like a real possibility. In fact, some Texas metros have already brought more than one-third of employees back to the office, and Pennsylvania is also lifting the telework mandate for some businesses. San Francisco office spaces are also seeing workers gradually return, as nonessential offices were allowed to reopen. In this context, companies are deciding their work policies for the future — whether they consist of moving everyone back into the office, keeping all employees remote, or something in between.

However, stay-at-home orders and office capacity limits vary by state and county, and the final decision on when — and how — employees go back to working from the office rests with the companies. So, we compiled a definitive, regularly updated list of the work from home policies of more than 180 large companies in the U.S., as well as their plans for a return to the office. We separated companies based on their future work model plans, into (a) companies that will offer more opportunities for working from home, (b) companies that will implement a hybrid work model and (c) companies planning a full return to the office.

Effects of the WFH Experiment: Some Companies See Value in Hybrid, Others Plan Full Return to Offices

For the last year, many companies have tested what it’s like to have a significant portion of their employees work remotely. As a result of this experiment, some companies — including IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Target and Walmart — have decided to make flexibility for occasional remote work part of their company culture.

Other companies, including Alphabet-Google, AT&T and Boeing, plan to go one step further and provide employees with a hybrid work model even after COVID-19 is contained to an extent that would allow a return to the office.

Still, some companies announced their plans to fully return to the office once possible, taking precautionary measures to follow health and safety regulations. Here they are:

Work-From-Home Catches on to Varying Extents with Different Industries

Below, we have listed 180 of the largest U.S.-based companies including all Fortune 100 companies, alongside their current work from home situation and any future plans they have announced. For readability, we grouped the companies into industries. Click the shortcuts below to navigate to an industry:

  1. Tech
  2. Telecommunications and media
  3. Financial
  4. Business Services
  5. Energy
  6. Other (healthcare, retail, capital goods, etc.)

Tech Giants Aim for More Post-Covid Flexibility in Working From Home

The innovative company culture commonly seen in tech companies — as well as the fact that many jobs in the tech sector could be moved online — meant that tech companies adapted better than most to working from home. Moreover, most tech giants — including Apple, IBM and Google’s parent company Alphabet — plan to give employees more opportunities to work from home after the pandemic, while Microsoft will keep a flexible, hybrid model even after the pandemic.

Meanwhile, social media giant Facebook also sees benefits in continuing with remote work, as the company plans to include the possibility for employees to work fully remotely even after COVID-19.

Future work from home policies of other Fortune 500 tech companies vary. Among those planning a post-pandemic hybrid system are computer and printer company HP, as well as chipmakers Nvidia, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm. Meanwhile, Micron and Thermo Fisher plan to fully return to the office.

Work From Home Catches On with Large Telecommunications & Media Companies

Remote work was also widely adopted by companies operating in telecommunications, media and entertainment. For instance, Verizon is planning a work model where certain jobs that can be done remotely will have the option of full-time WFH. AT&T and ViacomCBS similarly plan to offer more flexibility for working from home. And, while there have been few announcements regarding future work from home plans from media and telecommunications companies lower in the Fortune 500 list, it’s possible that they could follow suit in offering more remote work options.

Meanwhile, Comcast is currently the only telecommunications and media company to announce plans for a full return to the office.

Financial Companies Gravitate Towards Full Return to the Office or Hybrid Models

Among financial companies — such as banks and insurance firms — the norm is still remote work based on guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

However, the biggest bank in the U.S. — JPMorgan Chase — currently follows a hybrid work model. Moreover, once the situation allows, employees of JPMorgan may return to the office by rotation through a hybrid work policy.

Bank of America also currently has a policy in which employees alternate remote work with working in the office, a model which the company has followed since . However, that situation may change, as Bank of America plans to fully return to the office when possible. Other financial companies planning to fully return their workforce to the office include Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, while Morgan Stanley and Capital One are planning to provide more flexibility for working from home.

Wells Fargo was among the first banks to set a target date for a return to the office: September 6. Until then, Wells Fargo is encouraging employees to work from home.

At the same time, a considerable number of financial companies — including U.S. Bancorp, Travelers, Lincoln National and Truist — have also announced plans to offer employees the possibility to combine working from home with working in-office.

Business Service Companies Split Between More WFH and Full Return to the Office

The largest financial service company and card payment provider in the U.S. — Visa — alongside others like PayPal and Western Union intend to offer more employees the opportunity to work from home even after restrictions are lifted. At the other end, Omnicom and Interpublic expect their employees to return to in-office work once possible. Besides these, most companies offering business and financial services have yet to announce their future work from home models.

Energy Companies Mostly Stick to Working From Home for Corporate Staff — For Now

Companies in the energy industry faced one major challenge in adhering to health regulations and ensuring employee safety: The fact that a considerable share of their workforce is classified as essential or work in jobs that can’t be moved online. As such, many energy companies including Exxon Mobil and Chevron implemented work from home policies only for their office workers, while the rest of their staff continued working on-site with additional safety measures. Notably, Exxon and Chevron are #3 and #15 on the Fortune 100 list, respectively.

Notably, all Fortune 100 energy companies still have their office-using workforce telecommuting, with the exception of Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum, which has switched to a hybrid model.

Companies in Other Industries Have Varied Return to the Office Plans

Tip: Use the drop-down list in the table below to navigate between industries.

Employees of Walmart — the biggest U.S. company by revenue — are currently working from home and won’t return to the office until at least July 2021. However, the company’s approximately 10,000 tech workers may continue to work remotely for longer — or even indefinitely. Likewise, after analyzing the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, Target has also announced the possibility that its corporate workers may continue hybrid work down the road.

At the same time, Walmart’s main retail competitor — Amazon — is planning a complete return to the office as early as June, if the situation allows.

Among capital goods firms, two companies have announced changes in their office space usage compared to pre-pandemic times: Raytheon Technologies is looking to reduce its total office footprint by 25%, while Boeing is moving toward a long-term hybrid work policy.

The conclusion is that work from home policies vary greatly by industry and even between companies operating in the same sector. While some companies with more essential jobs may see a complete or almost complete return to the office, others plan to move some job positions to permanent work from home or offer employees more flexibility through hybrid work policies.

This list is continually updated as more information from companies becomes available. As this article is curated manually, we cannot guarantee the timeliness or accuracy of the information. Latest update: May 5th, 2021.

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