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Will the Work-From-Home Trend Continue After the Pandemic?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Nov 24, 2020 at 7:13AM

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Will people return to offices in 2021?

With millions of workers doing their jobs remotely, there has been a widespread belief that offices might become a thing of the past. In this Nov. 16 Fool Live video clip, certified financial planner and Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel and Industry Focus host Jason Moser discuss why the work-from-home trend might not be as lasting as you might think.

Jason Moser: Randy asks, "What would your guess be for the percentage of people that end up returning to the office for work?" That's a good question. I don't know, man. What do you think, Matt?

Matt Frankel: It depends on the industry, the location, and just what they were doing before.

Jason Moser: Many jobs require you to be there.

Matt Frankel: The nerve.

Jason Moser: If you're a restaurant industry or something. Yeah. Oh my God, I can't believe it. You're asking me to actually physically be present? Come on.

Matt Frankel: I think you're going to see a big increase in the percentage of people who work from the office sometimes.

Jason Moser: Yeah.

Matt Frankel: Let's just say The Motley Fool lets all their employees work from home whenever they want to, which I think they already did. Correct me if I'm wrong on that one because I'm not an in-house employee. If you needed to stay home for the day in work, it wasn't a big deal?

Jason Moser: No, it's never been a big deal. We've always had a very friendly work policies that goes.

Matt Frankel: Let's say they come out and say you can work from home whenever you want, forever and ever and ever, people are still going to be in the office a few days a week.

Jason Moser: I think a lot of people will be.

Matt Frankel: I don't normally work from the office, but I'd imagine a lot of people prefer to do these things from the studio. People like to have meetings in person. People like their bosses to see what they're doing. It's a good way to be visible. It's good for career advancement to be seen in the office. So I think you're going to see a big increase in the percentage of people who work from home sometimes.

Jason Moser: Yeah.

Matt Frankel: I don't know how many people are not going to return to the officer at all or are going to be working from home permanently and never go back to the office. There's definitely going to be some subset of the workforce that does that, but if it's going to be a huge percentage, I don't think so. I think you're going to see a lot more flexible work arrangements.

Jason Moser: I think that's it. I think it's just you're going to see more places opening up that flexibility. I think a lot of folks on the investment team might enjoy the camaraderie and being able to talk shop and being able to actually physically discuss stocks back and forth and what not. That's always been the collaboration, it has always been I think an important part of what we do. I think it was interesting, I thought that interview with Reed Hastings of Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) a little while back where I think a lot of people expected him to say, yeah, remote work is the future. He basically said something completely the contrary. He was like, "Ten minutes after a vaccine is announced, we will be back in the office." His point was that there's a collaborative nature that doesn't exist when you're not together. I think there's something to that. I could see myself probably working from one day a week, but I always enjoyed being able to go into the office. I'd much rather be able to be in the studio to do this kind of stuff and I think a lot of folks that do these shows on a regular basis feel that way as well. It's nice to have the technology that opens it up so that we can have other guests and bring other folks into the mix, but it'll be fascinating to see. Again, I think it just boils down, it's going to be more choices for people for the most part. I think it will just alter the schedules, but I don't think it's going to be having them make a full commitment one way or the other. Unless you wanted to move to a completely different state and work for the same company, and then that will depend on the company's legal status within that state, whether you can even do that. I guess we'll have to wait and see, but I think a lot of people here in this area will continue to go back to the office because when it pertains to the federal government, which is what a lot of work up here in this area is, you have to be there for security reasons alone. It'd be fun to watch though.

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