In a bold and unprecedented move, Shopify Inc’s CEO, Tobi Lutke, has declared the end of the “office centricity” era and announced that the company will keep its offices closed until 2021. This decision paves the way for most employees to work permanently from home after that point. As one of Canada’s most valuable companies, with over 5,000 employees and contractors worldwide, Shopify’s decision has significant implications.
Lutke took to Twitter to make the announcement, proclaiming, “As of today, Shopify is a digital by default. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. Office centricity is over.” This statement underlines the company’s commitment to adapting to the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and its willingness to embrace remote work.
This move by Shopify comes at a time when businesses across the globe are grappling with the impact of the pandemic. The virus has not only caused widespread economic disruption, but it is also expected to reshape the future of office spaces. As companies adjust to this new reality, remote work is gaining traction and popularity.
Shopify’s decision places it among the ranks of other tech giants such as Square Inc and Twitter Inc, who have already embraced the concept of permanent remote work. Even Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google have extended their remote work policies until the end of the year. Shopify, however, stands out as the first major Canadian company to make this commitment.
The significance of Shopify’s move lies in the fact that it is considered a domestic success story in a sector typically dominated by Silicon Valley-based companies. With a market value of C$119 billion ($85 billion), Shopify has experienced remarkable success and has become increasingly popular among investors and analysts. The shift to online shopping brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has further propelled the growth of Shopify’s e-commerce platform.
While the Canadian economy as a whole has suffered due to the pandemic, Shopify has thrived. Its stock has soared by about 117% this year, in stark contrast to the 13% drop experienced by the benchmark Canada stock index. This success solidifies Shopify’s position as a leader in the e-commerce industry.
Following the announcement, Shopify’s shares rose by 4.2% at midday, bucking the trend of the declining benchmark index. Investors and analysts are optimistic about the company’s future prospects, recognizing its ability to adapt to the changing business landscape and prioritize remote work.
As the era of office centricity draws to a close, companies worldwide are reevaluating their approach to work. Shopify’s decision to prioritize remote work sets a precedent for other companies to follow suit. It remains to be seen how this shift will shape the future of work in the post-pandemic world and how other companies will respond.