As companies are learning that in-office work can be completed efficiently at home, the Microsoft co-founder recently said that the system will continue even after the pandemic ends, making companies and industries rethink how much time is needed inside a physical office.
“It is amazing to see how well the work from home (WFH) culture has worked and I hope will continue even after the pandemic is over,” Gates said at an online business summit organized by The Economic Times. “But once this pandemic ends, we will rethink on what percentage of time we spend in offices… 20, 30, 50%. Lots of companies will expect their employees to spend well below 50% of their time in offices and maybe the rest of the companies will go the normal way,” he added.
The billionaire philanthropist, who runs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that the work-from-home experiment has been “eye-opening” for him due to how much time he has saved.
“Honestly I have got time to do much more. It’s been… eye-opening for me,” he said.
While Gates’ certainly seems to have had some revelations about the work-from-home lifestyle, he said it currently has its limits due to software. The Times of India said Gates called it not as engaging due to the limitations, in addition to home life, which includes taking care of children and in some cases, helping with schoolwork during work hours.
Gates recently voiced his displeasure with the US’ handling of the coronavirus, which recently topped 200,000 deaths earlier this week. Speaking to CNN, Gates said that the country did a “very poor job” compared to Asian countries like South Korea and Australia.
“You know what happened was that 40,000 people came out of China because we didn’t ban the residents and citizens from coming in. We created this rush. And we didn’t have the ability to test or quarantine those people, so that seeded the disease here,” Gates said. “Even today, people don’t get their results in 24 hours, which is outrageous that we still have that,” he said.
Gates also said that he predicts life will return to a somewhat-normal by summer 2021 due to the potential of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is likely to be released early next year.
“The end of the epidemic, best case, is probably 2022. But during 2021, the numbers, we should be able to drive them down, if we take the global approach,” Gates told Fox News. “So, you know, thank goodness vaccine technology was there, that the funding came up, that the companies put their best people on it. That’s why I’m optimistic this won’t last indefinitely.”