The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in many employees working remotely as stay-at-home orders have caused public places and businesses to close.
Last week, Zillow CEO and Co-Founder Rich Barton took to Twitter to announce that Zillow employees would be allowed to work from home through the end of 2020.
Zillow is working through office re-opening plans now and expects that to be a gradual process over many months. “We want to make sure employees are supported and have the flexibility and visibility to manage their lives with work in these uncertain times,” a Zillow spokesperson said.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past two months and have watched our teams pull together from their homes to keep the company moving forward. This situation has dramatically changed how we envision our future of work and we expect this experience will influence our decisions going forward.”
Other companies have pivoted to new strategies as well. Keller Williams moved its workforce to virtual, Realtor.com has launched livestream open houses, Compass has launched virtual real estate tools, and Century 21 will be launching its live stream open houses later this week.
A Realtor.com spokesperson told HousingWire that collaboration with virtual tours and livestream open houses have been to the benefit of consumers.
“As we move forward, we’ll always put the health and well-being of our employees first,” the spokesperson said. “And we will follow the guidelines of public health officials before making any decisions about when our staff is invited to return to their offices. Different employees in different locations have different needs, and we’ll be responsive to all of them.”
Keller Williams Vice President of People Leslie Vander Gheynst said that the shift to accommodate COVID-19 has barely, if at all, impacted the company’s productivity, despite employees working remotely. Gheynst said that communication and transparency is key.
“As our leaders are clear on expectations, results, and goals, we shifted to become a work-at-home labor force rather seamlessly,” Gheynst said. “As everyone is dealing and experiencing this pandemic differently, we are giving people the space and support they need individually.”
All of this despite some states beginning to open up this week, with a few even allowing in-person real estate showings.