Outdoor sign for Netflix at its headquarters in California.
Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California. Image: © JHVEPhoto /Stock.adobe.com

Netflix staff will return to offices when a Covid-19 vaccine is approved

8 Sep 2020

The company’s co-CEO, Reed Hastings, sees working from home as a ‘pure negative’ and wants to return to the workplace as soon as it’s safe to do so.

While many large tech companies – including Fujitsu, Google, Siemens and more – have committed to long-term remote work plans as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, Netflix’s boss is eager to get employees back into the workplace as soon as he can.

Reed Hastings, co-founder, co-CEO and chairperson at the streaming company, told the Wall Street Journal that he doesn’t “see any positives” related to working from home. “Debating ideas is harder now. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative. I’ve been super impressed at people’s sacrifices.”

Speaking about the company’s future, he said that its 8,600 employees will probably come back into offices “six months after a vaccine”.

“Once we can get a majority of people vaccinated, then it’s probably back in the office,” Hastings said. In general, he told the Wall Street Journal that he foresees the future of work bringing four days spent in the workplace and one day working from home.

Netflix in the time of Covid

Netflix saw a surge in new subscriptions during Covid-19 as people around the world spent more time at home, but its recent Q2 earnings report was a mixed bag. Having added an additional 10m paid customers throughout the quarter, its revenues grew to $6.15bn for the period.

However, the number of paid subscribers the streaming giant expects to add in Q3 are almost half of what analysts predicted. Management attributed the slowing growth to consumers getting over “the initial shock of Covid and social restrictions”.

The company also found a small number of customers who were still paying the monthly subscription fee but hadn’t watched any Netflix content in two years. It stopped billing these customers and said it would do the same for anyone who matches this criteria in the future.

In terms of its content, Netflix said that production on some of its biggest titles would likely be pushed out towards the end of 2021 due to Covid, but that “the total number of originals for the full year will still be higher than 2020”.

In the Wall Street Journal article, Hastings added that the production is now “up and running” again in parts of Europe and Asia. “The hope is that, through September and October, we can really get—with proper testing—a lot more running.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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