From gaming to tech – Big companies have left SF for good
UNITED STATES – It would not be an exaggeration to say that the coronavirus pandemic has caused one of the most dramatic changes in the world in the last century. Face masks, panic buying, month-long shutdowns, home-schooled children and, not to mention, the race for vaccines is something many of the world’s nearly eight billion people will never forget.
However, one of the most significant changes in modern life has occurred in the job market. To prevent the virus from spreading, governments have asked companies to have their workforce Work at home and not go to their offices. At that time, no one thought this situation would last for years rather than two weeks.
Businesses abandon offices as employees leave town
What happened next can be described as common sense.
Businesses in cities like San Francisco, New York and London have started to move out of town to avoid having to cover huge rental bills for virtually empty offices. Zynga, for example, sub-run his dear SF headquarters (185,000 square feet) since, as of June 2021, only 18.5% of their half million employees were based in San Francisco.
Zynga has followed companies like Amazon, Airbnb and Twitter, which also abandoned their office during the pandemic.
As companies left the city, the employees too. In the end, why would you stay in an expensive city when you could also live somewhere else, at the same salary but half the price? As a result, San Francisco lost 6.3% of its population, or 815,200 people, in 2021 alone.
London and other cities are experiencing the same phenomenon
What is true for San Francisco is also observed in other metropolises such as New York or London in the United Kingdom. There, the city experienced its first population decline in nearly 30 years.
Mainly tech and gambling companies have decided to introduce an unlimited workforce scheme, allowing their employees to work remotely indefinitely. In many cases, this seems completely logical.
For example, the UK happens to be the largest regulated online gambling market in the world and as such, companies used to operate offices in London and other cities. However, for the most part online casinos, sister sites, and sports betting websites do not require on-site support. Whether it’s software development, customer support, or partnership management, all of this work can be done remotely.
A return to 100% office work is unlikely
Many wonder if there will be a return to the office lifestyle we have become accustomed to over the past few decades. Listen to investment bankers, and the answer is yes, but if you follow analyst research, it’s clearly no.
A change in work-life balance was long overdue. The internet has changed the way people do their jobs, and for a long time city-based offices didn’t seem to adapt to that idea. The pandemic has forced business owners and managers to think differently and made them realize that physical presence is not necessary for most jobs.
While the majority of companies are unlikely to follow Twitter & Co. and allow their staff to work 100% remotely, the most likely outcome will be a hybrid working model such as two days a week in the office and three days away.