I was going to title this piece “Death of the Office” but I thought better than to subject myself to the ire of thousands of fans of the most popular series on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Unfortunately, this article is not a lamentation of Dunder Mifflin’s relocation to Comcast’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Peacock streaming service next year, rather it is a eulogy for the traditional office workplace as we know it. As Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) tells its almost 800,000 strong workforce to relocate to their sitting room, with companies like Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) following suit, we’re going to look at whether this will be the end of the office workplace as we know it.
I feel the ubiquity of remote working, already a burgeoning trend, will be one of the lasting effects the coronavirus will leave on the corporate world. As more and more companies are forced to abandon their workplaces in the face of the rolling tide that is Covid-19, the necessity for remote working has come to the fore. While many cool, hip, forward-thinking tech companies are already entrenched in the working-from-home culture, MyWallSt currently boasts staff working from Baltimore, Oklahoma, Vietnam, and Malaga, the real shift in perspective will come in more traditional industries like banking, law firms, accounting, and insurance companies amongst others that have had a remote working policy thrust on them.
“Only out of necessity is lasting change forged.”
Who said that? Nietzsche? Descartes? Confucius maybe? No, that’s a Michael O’Mahony original, and it holds true today as much as when it was first uttered, which was also today. But in all seriousness, as businesses begin to see the potential efficiencies and cost-saving measures that arise from a company-wide remote-working policy, rent and other office-related expenses will begin to look like luxuries on the balance sheet. The popularity of a decentralized workforce, a tactic already employed by Shopify (NASDAQ:SHOP) here in Ireland, will grow exponentially in the coming years.
What stocks benefit from remote working?
Although the workplace collaboration software company has seen its recent gains erased by an earnings report that did not live up to investors’ astronomically high expectations, it remains one of the most important stocks to facilitate working from home. Slack (NYSE:WORK) is at the forefront of workplace communication, and on a day that saw Microsoft Teams crash as European remote workers logged on, the company is looking like a fantastic long-term investment at a discount.
Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) has done something amazing. In a space where Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft were well established, it managed to fell these Goliaths with a sling of a superior, specialized product. As face-to-face meetings are forced to morph into a quick Zoom conference, companies will begin to notice the savings. I think it will be hard for many to revert to expensing flights and hotel stays for their staff.
*Slack and Zoom are also in the enviable position of brand superiority where their names are being used as verbs. “I’ll Slack you” and “I’ll Zoom in” are becoming omnipresent terms in many modern offices.
Atlassian’s (NASDAQ:TEAM) prominence amongst developers has long been established, yet for the technophobes amongst us, it might need a short introduction. It is a software enterprise company that owns a suite of products that enable collaboration amongst software developers, project managers, and other contributors. Jira, Confluence, and Trello are its most prominent product offerings, with an extended suite of other features that allow development teams to share and coordinate their work. As teams across the world become decentralized, the importance of a product suite like Atlassian’s can not be overstated.
Some of the added benefits to working from home which will also be realized in the near future include the environmental benefits of reduced commuters, the potential for hires across the globe, the freedom and flexibility for employees to work and travel on their own schedule, and the reduction of costs for new businesses.
Working remotely has been kicked to the front of the queue of global megatrends that will define this decade. We as investors should look to capitalize.
MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently hold positions in Amazon, Netflix, Slack, Zoom, and Atlassian. Read our full disclosure policy here.
Content Manager at MyWallSt
Michael's first and favorite stock is Square, which he sees becoming a massive player in the payments industry and a leader in the war on cash.