Zillow to allow 90% of employees to work from home indefinitely as pandemic ‘debunks’ old ways

Zillow Group introduced a new policy on Wednesday allowing about 90% of its employees the option of working from home indefinitely, significantly extending a move the company made at the end of April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new plan was spelled out in a blog post from Dan Spaulding, the Seattle-based real estate company’s chief people officer, in which he said the company always planned to be “responsive to changing conditions.” Three months ago, Zillow was one of the first companies to announce an extended WFH option, enabling approximately 5,400 employees to go remote through the end of 2020.

“This is a drastic change from where we started the year,” Spaulding wrote. “We have historically discouraged employees from working from home, preferring face time, and in-office collaboration versus virtual exchanges.

“Our old preferences have been debunked during the pandemic,” he added.

That sentiment echoes what Zillow CEO Rich Barton said back in April on Twitter and follows what many companies are learning about the potential for worker collaboration and productivity during the ongoing health crisis.

Zillow Group is based in downtown Seattle at the Russell Investments Center building and has nine additional offices. Spaulding said that the offices “will be there for individuals and teams to enable productivity and collaboration — but they won’t be the only place where those things happen.”

Since closing offices in March, the company has onboarded approximately 500 new employees digitally, through a new virtual program.

Zillow’s move comes after tech giants such as Amazon told eligible workers to stay home until January and Google told workers they can WFH until next summer.