On Monday’s news that pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech have developed a coronavirus vaccine that is more than 90% effective, remote work stocks took a tumble.
Those companies have done well over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic since their products and services are helping workers do their job while at home.
If there’s an effective vaccine in distribution, the thinking is that offices will open back up and employees will return.
However, remote work will remain a part of our culture long after the vaccine is distributed nationally, former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty told CNBC.
Her comments came on the heels of an announcement from drug maker Pfizer that its coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infections. Major stocks that benefit from people staying at home due to the pandemic — like Zoom and Netflix — fall sharply following the news.
She added that remote work is “here to stay” and will become part of a “hybrid” model of working that sees some people working in offices, while others stay at home.
A vaccine “allows us to return to perhaps a bit of a more new normal,” Rometty said. “But a number of these things in the hybrid way of working I believe will remain, and the digital acceleration will continue because people have now seen what is possible.”
The pandemic forced millions of workers to work remotely, exponentially accelerating their organizations’ migration to the cloud.
According to Rometty, this should lead to a permanent adoption of the hybrid cloud and the flexibility of a partly remote workforce.
IBM, among others, has conducted surveys and studies of remote work and found that a majority of employers and employees want to retain some aspects of remote work, although other findings suggest that some workers are struggling with mental health issues in isolation and want to return to the office.