To prevent the spread of COVID-19, cities across the U.S. have enacted social distancing measures, like shelter-in-place orders and bans on large gatherings. In keeping with these orders, all non-essential employees have been mandated to work from home, if they are able to.
That includes investment bank and financial services company Goldman Sachs. A full 98% of the company’s employees are working remotely, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Thursday. To make it work, the company has had to adapt: “When you go through something like this, it forces you to ask questions and think about things differently,” Solomon said.
But even after the coronavirus pandemic calms down, Solomon believes the company will continue to see an increase in the use of video conferencing and become more comfortable with that type of technology. “It will make us more comfortable in providing more flexibility to employees, which, by the way, makes this a more attractive place for people to work,” said Solomon.
The ability to work remotely can be enticing for workers. It can help provide work-life balance, improve job satisfaction and help employees save money. Allowing employees to work from home can pay off for companies as well, in ways including increased productivity, a study from researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business found.
It’s not just Goldman that could change. The coronavirus pandemic could have a lasting impact on companies and remote work policies nationwide, according to consulting organization Global Workplace Analytics. It estimates that within two years, 25% to 30% of the U.S. workforce will work from home on a regular basis. That’s due to a number of factors, including increased demand from employees and renewed trust from managers.
However, change at Goldman Sachs will not be swift and dramatic, Solomon says. It will be “gradual,” as his main focuses right now are the safety and health of his employees, serving clients and helping communities. “There will be lots of time when we get through this to the other side to think about those other things,” he said.