Before Covid-19 started to spread across the globe, those of us who were lucky enough to work from home enjoyed a fantastic perk. Several companies have flourished in the wake of the pandemic allowing employees to either work from home. Others have felt the brunt of having employees work from home and declines in their business activity. While the vaccine could eventually lead to herd immunity and bring back many of the activities that have been left behind in the wake of the pandemic, several industries will continue to allow their employees to work from home and continue the productivity they have experienced during the pandemic.
Many Employees Like Going to Work
Many employers often fretted about communication and productivity if employees worked at home. This situation is why only 14 percent of employees were working remotely before COVID-19, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those numbers have drastically increased during the pandemic. A Stanford researcher estimates that 42% of the U.S. labor force is working from home full-time. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimates that nearly half of the workforce is remote.
Many of the cons of working at home offset the pros. While you can work in shorts and a tee-shirt, you might have more extended hours with more virtual meetings. Roommates need to share a working space, which in many instances is a kitchen. While many enjoy the at-home experience, working remotely is taking a toll.
The Martec Group surveyed 1,214 individuals across various industries and age levels to identify how working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic affected employees. While some have flourished, the survey also found a significant decline in mental health across all industries. Job satisfaction, job motivation, and company satisfaction were also negatively affected. According to the survey, the majority of employees do not like working from home. Approximately 27 percent of employees are discouraged.
While Companies Have Outperformed
The stay at home working environment has helped many companies thrive. One company that has thrived is Zoom. During the early stages of the pandemic, the use of the firm’s software jumped 30-fold in April, as the coronavirus pandemic forced millions to work, learn and socialize remotely. The firm counted more than 300 million daily participants in virtual meetings at its peak while paying customers have more than tripled.
Apple is another company that thrived with employees staying at home. Apple delivered its largest quarter by revenue of all time at $111.4 billion in its Q1 earnings report for fiscal 2021. It’s the first time Apple crossed the symbolic $100 billion mark in a single quarter, and sales were up 21% year over year. 5G iPhone sales didn’t just drive Apple’s results for the quarter ending in December. Sales for every product category rose by double-digit percentage points. Online trading of Apple shares has been terrific in 2020 and early 2021. The stock price hit all-time highs, and with the company looking to get into the electric car business, there is likely further gains to come.
Employees that stayed at home also wanted to garden. Scotts Miracle-Gro reported quarterly earnings of $0.39 per share, beating estimates of a loss of $0.73 per share. This number compares to a loss of $1.12 per share a year ago. The retailer for farmers, ranchers, and suburbanites who do work around the house has also helped buoy the self home improvement business. Fencing, bird feed, plumbing supplies, pet food, outdoor apparel, live chickens, and lawn tractors have led to Tractor Supply’s good fortune.
Travel and leisure, meanwhile, has been on the wrong end of the stay at home scenario. Worldwide airline revenue is estimated to fall by as much as $113 billion in 2020. Business travel has tumbled, and vacation travel has been non-existent. TSA checkpoint numbers in the United States as of February 2021 are approximately 33% of the prior year’s numbers. This lack of throughput means fewer people are boarding planes. At its trough in April of 2020, TSA numbers were 10% of the prior years total.
The bottom line is that the pandemic created companies that outperformed and had satisfied employees and companies that have underperformed and have dissatisfied employees. Surveys show that employees working at home are unhappy and are working longer hours despite not having to commute. Despite the working situations, Apple, Zoom, and Scotts Miracle Grow outperformed, while many travel and leisure businesses such as American Airlines and Jetblue have underperformed. As a vaccine becomes more available, the movement back to normalcy will help turn the trend away from staying at home.