East Tech West

People will be allowed to work from home about half the time after Covid passes, CEO says

Key Points
  • Oliver Steil of software maker TeamViewer said he believes companies will let their staff spend half of their time working remotely after the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Most firms are preparing to adopt a "hybrid" approach where people split their time between working at home and working in the office, he said.
  • Twitter said in May that some of its workforce can work from home forever if they choose.
TeamViewer: Looking forward to normalization of business environment post-pandemic

The chief executive of a German software company said feedback from customers indicates that companies will let staff spend half their time working from home after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

Speaking to CNBC's Geoff Cutmore, Oliver Steil of TeamViewer questioned whether companies would allow their staff to work from home all the time, instead saying that he believes most firms will adopt a "hybrid" approach.

Steil's company builds software that's designed to let businesses manage computers and other devices remotely.

Social media giant Twitter said in May that some of its workforce can work from home into perpetuity if they want. Facebook said in August it will allow employees to work remotely until July 2021.

But not every task that companies want or need to do can be handled remotely.

"I think many companies will need to onboard new employees, they will want to meet customers, they will want to have physical meetings, workgroups, every now and then," said Steil, who was interviewed as part of CNBC's East Tech West conference, which is being held virtually and on the ground in Guangzhou, China.

Based on conversations he's had with customers, Steil said firms will go from letting staff have one home office day a week to "a 50-50 share of working from somewhere and working from the office."

Staff could work in the office one week and remotely the next, or they could spend two days in the office and work the remainder elsewhere, he said.

It won't just be managers and office workers that work remotely after the pandemic, according to Steil. He believes people in "more operational" roles will also be able to work from home.

In the future, technicians somewhere such as a factory or a warehouse will be able to receive instructions from a remote expert through a pair of smart glasses, said Steil, who oversaw the acquisition of augmented reality firm Ubimax in July.

"That's where we want to go," he said, adding that a remote expert could access and control the machine in front of the warehouse technician. "They work in a three-way interaction and thereby you reduce travel time, you don't need to fly an expert around the world, you're faster, more accurate, less error prone and that's what we're trying to achieve."

TeamViewer listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in September 2019 and has a market cap of 7.62 billion euros ($9.03 billion) today.

While the company builds its software in Europe, Steil said the Asia-Pacific region has become the "pacemaker for the rest of the world" when it comes to embracing new technology.

TeamViewer's CEO says the APAC region is setting the pace for the rest of the world