Does Work From Home Mean Silicon Valley Is Over For Good?
For decades, Silicon Valley in the Bay Area represented the heart of technological innovation. From Google and Facebook to Tesla, multibillion-dollar tech firms and startups alike flocked to North California and lured top talent through in-office amenities like Ping-Pong tables, gourmet food and craft beer.
But then the pandemic hit and 71% of American office workers began working from home, according to a Pew Research study from December. Now, many tech giants in Silicon Valley, as well as other companies across the U.S., are telling employees they don’t have to come back to the office at all, reports Bloomberg.
Additionally, top tech firms in Silicon Valley are recruiting talent from across the U.S., promising full-time remote work, even post-pandemic. Many job listings don’t even provide a location for the corporate headquarters, according to Bloomberg.
“Not one of my clients requires an HQ-based executive anymore,” Andy Price, founder of tech recruiter Artisanal Talent Group, told Bloomberg. “If they do, I won’t take the project, because that means the company is too stupid to see the handwriting on the wall. COVID(-19) unleashed the beast, and we’re not going back.”
Twitter and Slack have already said employees will never need to come back to the office. Google has said employees won’t need to return until September 2021, The New York Times and Business Insider reported, while Facebook, Amazon and Apple established timelines of June 2021.
It Works Both Ways
Just as Silicon Valley tech giants can branch out and tap into talent from across the U.S., firms headquartered in other locations can also gain a recruiting advantage by allowing executives and employees to work from anywhere they might be.
Amongst the companies on the cutting edge of the work-from-home revolution is Ottawa, Canada-based Shopify, who instituted a “work from anywhere indefinitely” policy for its 7,000 employees last May, Bloomberg reported.
How Will Silicon Valley Look This Time Next Year?
With Bay Area real estate some of the priciest in the country — and Oakland and San Francisco ranked second and third on the list (beyond New York City) of the most expensive cities to live in the U.S. by Yahoo! News — many tech workers who have the option could flee the Bay Area.
Mercury News reported that the Bay Area showed a nearly stagnant population growth rate of 0.03% between July 2019 and July 2020. Additionally, although real estate costs remain high, rental prices for one-bedroom apartments in November dropped by 23%, 20% and 15% for San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, respectively, according to research from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.
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