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September 18, 2020

Networking harmed by working from home, Big Tech employees report

By Lucy Ingham

Employees of leading technology companies, including Google, Apple and Amazon, are concerned about the lack of networking opportunities since switching to working from home, with potentially harmful implications for their career prospects.

This is according to a survey by anonymous professional network Blind, which got the views of 1,625 verified employees of major technology companies.

It found that 74% reported not being able to network inside their own companies, and 75% not having networking opportunities outside their organisations since working from home began.

This varied by company. Google, for example, saw just 17% able to network internally and 19% able to network externally.

Amazon, meanwhile, saw 26% and 19% respectively, and for Facebook it was 21% and 24%, while for Microsoft it was 22% and 20%. 18% of Apple employees said they were able to network both internally and externally.

Uber employees reported the worst levels of networking opportunities during working from home, with 8% able to network internally and 19% externally.

Salesforce, meanwhile, had the best results, with 43% saying they could network internally and 31% externally.

At the core of the problem seems to be a lack of alternative networking methods that viably replace the face-to-face experience.

An employee at Hyundai Capital America summed up the issue in their response.

“How do you go about networking professionally these days?” they asked.

“Prior to Covid I had opportunities to show up and exchange info at local conferences and chapter meetings. Recruiters also seemed more reachable and proactive at the time than these days where I’m sure it’s a buyer’s market.”

Working from home and a loss of networking: Bad for career progression?

Notably, just over half – 53% – also felt that the move to working from home had negatively impacted their career progression.

This was more pronounced at some companies than others, however.

Among the worst hit were Intuit, VMware and Google, with 77%, 70% and 69% respectively saying their career progression had been harmed.

However, Amazon, PayPal and Intel saw far lower numbers raising concerns, at 48%, 47% and 38% respectively.

Salesforce employees reported the least concerns about career progression, with just 15% saying it had been harmed.

The findings raise concerns about whether post-Covid working from home, while likely to be supported by many companies, will prove to be a bad move when it comes to networking and career progression.

“Will being remote be a viable career choice post-Covid?” a Facebook employee asked.

“Seems a lot of companies are allowing it, including FB, but curious on its impact on growth.”

Read more: Nine out of ten people want the option of working from home