Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Shopify Is Going All-In on Remote Work

By Evan Niu, CFA - May 22, 2020 at 8:30AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

"I don't think there's a going back to the office the way we had."

Work may never be the same for many people across industries, even after the COVID-19 pandemic abates. Some experts believe that the coronavirus outbreak will cement remote work as a viable model for many companies that can feasibly pull it off. Tech companies tend to be better positioned for those arrangements, as software engineers can ostensibly code from anywhere.

Twitter and Square -- both led by CEO Jack Dorsey -- have recently announced permanent policies allowing employees to work from home, for example. Shopify (SHOP 5.88%) is the latest to go all-in on remote work.

Person sitting cross-legged on a floor, working remotely on a laptop, next to a smartphone, a cup of coffee, a small box, a note pad, and a pen

Image source: Getty Images.

There's no going back

Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke announced the change on social media, proclaiming that the e-commerce tech company is now "digital by default." Previously, most Shopify employees would come into an office while others would work remotely. Lutke expects that dichotomy to flip in the near future, where centralized offices will merely serve as a way to help new hires transition to remote working environments.

Lutke notes that many Shopify merchants work from home already, so having Shopify employees work in a similar way can actually help workers better understand customers' perspectives and have "more empathy." Pivoting to new ideas is a key skill in the world of tech. The Shopify chief executive shows that sometimes pivots can apply to corporate culture and not just product strategy, particularly under extraordinary circumstances.

A lot of logistical details remain unclear, but Lutke is confident that Shopify can navigate the changes. Embracing remote work will also inevitably expand the global talent pool Shopify can tap now that hiring isn't constrained by physical proximity to an office.

Shifting to remote work can have important implications on a company's cost structure, as physical offices are expensive to lease and maintain. Shopify plans to redesign its offices for a digital experience, and Lutke expects just 20% to 25% of employees to work in a traditional office environment.

"I don't think there's a going back to the office the way we had," Lutke told Bloomberg. "I think we will go back to something different, potentially better in some ways and potentially in some instances also worse than it might have been."

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Shopify Inc. Stock Quote
Shopify Inc.
$385.23 (5.88%) $21.40

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/24/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.