Zillow says employees can work from home for rest of 2020

"My personal opinions about WFH have been turned upside down over the past 2 months:" Rich Barton

The nation’s largest real estate listings platform is allowing its employees to work from home for the rest of the year.

“My personal opinions about WFH have been turned upside down over the past 2 months,” Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow, tweeted Friday. “I expect this will have a lasting influence on the future of work … and home. Stay safe.”

The company, which has over 5,000 employees, has been conducting internal meetings, or “Zall Halls,” through videoconferencing, like thousands of other companies across the planet. But Barton’s decision to allow remote work for the rest of 2020 is a nod to the structural changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, with many firms questioning the need for office space.

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On March 23, Zillow said that it was putting the brakes on its iBuying division due to the pandemic, among a string of players in the space such as Opendoor, Redfin and Realogy to do so. The company had made a big bet on iBuying, saying that not investing in the space would be an “existential threat.”

Barton, who also co-founded Expedia and Glassdoor, co-founded Zillow in 2006 and served as CEO until 2010. He returned as CEO in February 2019, replacing fellow co-founder Spencer Rascoff. After Zillow’s stock surged to $64 per share in February, Barton’s net worth jumped past $1 billion. The stock has fallen sharply since the pandemic hit, however, and is now trading at about $40 a share.