All big Tech companies ask employees to work at home due to Coronavirus
Coronavirus has continued its spread around the world, with it now officially classed as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Governments and companies alike have been taking action to try to prevent the virus from shutting down workplaces and even entire countries.
Big tech companies are among the many to take this new outbreak extremely seriously, with them now asking employees to work from home if possible.
Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have all deployed containment strategies, meaning that their workforce in high risk areas should not go into the office if they are able to telecommute.
For example Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is suggesting its workforce in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and North America, remain at home to complete their duties. Chris Rackow, vice president of global security at Google made the statement, ‘Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection of Alphabet and the broader community, we now recommend that you work from home if your role allows[.]’
There are almost 120,000 employees at Alphabet full time, which will now have been asked to stay at home if possible. To help the financial difficulties these decisions might have on employees, Google is creating a fund to provide sick leave for employees who currently aren’t given it. This is alongside compensating hourly workers who have had their hours reduced.
Twitter has moved its position from ‘strongly recommended’ to ‘mandatory’ for all workers around the world to work remotely. There was a case at the company’s San Francisco office of an employee exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus. About this, a company spokesman made this statement, ‘As of now, there has been no official diagnosis, we’ve notified our employees and are following the advice of public health officials to prioritize everyone’s health and safety. We closed our San Francisco office as our team completes a thorough and deep cleaning.’
Twitter has also made plans to cover pay for contractors and hourly workers who are losing out on their paycheck because of the virus.
If we look at Facebook, they are also implementing contingency plans. If an employee of theirs has a position that means they can work from home, they are recommending they do so. Similarly, Amazon has made the same recommendations.
In an emailed statement, a Facebook spokesperson said, ‘We are extending our global guidance to allow anyone whose job allows them to do so, to voluntarily work remotely through Friday, April 10.’
As with the previous tech giants, Amazon is also recommending that employees who have jobs that can facilitate it, to work remotely.
On this topic, an Amazon spokesperson made this statement, ‘We continue to work closely with public and private medical experts to ensure we are taking the right precautions as the situation continues to evolve.’
In a move to alleviate the financial difficulties the virus outbreak is having on its employees, Amazon have made some plans. The first includes subsidising a month’s rent for small business that work from inside its buildings in Seattle and Bellevie. A $5 million relief fund for local small businesses has also been established for companies impacted by Corona. Lastly, the hourly workers that are on its books are still being paid. This includes over 10,000 employees across food service, security, and maintenance in its Washington buildings.
Employees based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington’s Puget Sound, and Seattle, have been asked to work from home. The company has also said that hourly workers will still receive pay even if they are not able to work for as many hours as usual because of the outbreak. This will extend to employees such as cafeteria workers, and bus drivers, amongst others.
In a statement, the president and chief legal officer of Microsoft wrote, ‘We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees. As a result, we’ve decided that Microsoft will continue to pay all our vendor hourly service providers their regular pay during this period of reduced service needs. This is independent of whether their full services are needed. This will ensure that, in Puget Sound for example, the 4,500 hourly employees who work in our facilities will continue to receive their regular wages even if their work hours are reduced.’
With these measures in place, businesses are hoping that they can prevent the spread of coronavirus throughout their workforce. Considering the size of each of these companies, this is a large amount of people who will be asked to not come into the office. Whether the spread can be slowed down by these measures is still to be seen.
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