In Light of Coronavirus, Most U.S. Companies Lack Work-From-Home Technology

Wash your hands frequently. Call the doctor if you have flu-like symptoms. Be prepared to work from home.

These phrases have been repeated ad nauseam as the U.S. reacts to the coronavirus outbreak. And while ZoomInfo doesn’t monitor hand hygiene efforts or health care records, it does track one data type that offers insight into the issue of employees working from home as a result to the coronavirus outbreak. We’re speaking, of course, about technographic data.

Technographic data refers to information regarding a company’s essential tools and technologies. The big message? Based on ZoomInfo’s analysis, most companies in America are not ready, from a technology standpoint, to support employees working from home due to COVID-19, or if a community outbreak forces self-quarantines.

ZoomInfo relied on technographic information from 5.8 million U.S. companies in its database to arrive at this conclusion. Learn more about technographic data in ZoomInfo’s 2019 Technographic Data Report for B2B Sales Organizations.

Work-From-Home Tech Examined

For its analysis, ZoomInfo focused on the following technologies, which typically help remote workers communicate and interact with colleagues:

  • Web conferencing platforms (e.g., Zoom or GoToWebinar), which let people engage in video-based meetings in real time from various locations.
  • Team collaboration software (e.g., Slack or Confluence), which sets up real-time online chatting and idea sharing.
  • File sharing applications (e.g., Box or Google Drive), which offers online access to digital files and documents, often to many people at the same time.
  • Unified communication solutions (e.g., Polycom and Cisco Unity Connection), which integrate various communications channels and services into one platform.
  • E-signature tools (e.g, Adobe Sign or DocuSign), which let individuals sign their names electronically to contracts and other documents.
  • Human resources management systems (e.g., ADP or BambooHR), which in part give employees self-service options for benefits, time off, and other HR matters.

The vast majority of companies in the country — including millions of micro businesses small businesses — do not use any of these technologies.

Table showing growth of several categories of work-from-home technology.
Figure 1: As business face increased pressure from coronavirus, work-from-home applications differ depending on company size.

Not surprisingly, companies with a larger workforce (and by inference, bigger budgets) are more likely to use one or more of these technologies. Conversely, smaller organizations are less likely to adopt these tools, either because they don’t need them or can’t afford them. But given the unpredictable threat of coronavirus, work-from-home options may become necessary for businesses that usually don’t allow people to work remotely.

To be fair, not all organizations can let workers clock in remotely — construction firms and food processing companies, for example. 

Also, some businesses may be able to march on simply by conducting conference calls with employees at home using a standard smartphone features. However, file-sharing and real-time collaboration on the web requires specific softwares that many businesses have yet to adopt.

Work-From-Home Apps Are More Common at Larger Companies

ZoomInfo’s numbers clearly suggest that larger companies have more of the technology required to enact suitable work-from-home policies in light of the coronavirus.

As evidence, let’s look further at two of the technologies most associated with working from home: web conferencing and team collaboration applications. Both show similar patterns of adoption as it relates to company workforce size, with a notable spike as organizations cross over the 1,000-employee threshold.

Chart showing the rise of team collaboration and web conferencing tech.
Figure 2: The availability of web conferencing and team collaboration applications follow similar increases based on employee headcounts.

As the graph shows, companies with more than 1,000 employees are far more likely to provide technology options for workers who need to do their jobs from home.

In conclusion, as the coronavirus outbreak spreads and the potential to disrupt normal day-to-day life increases, most companies — particularly smaller ones — lack the technology that could ease work-from-home arrangements for employees.

About Our Data

On March 6, 2020, ZoomInfo analyzed its database of 20 million companies, filtering by U.S. companies and then by employee headcount. From there, we applied additional technographics filters to look for evidence of certain software and tools at those companies that often are used when employees work from home. Our data does not contain information about COVID-19 infections.