BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Some of the largest companies in Massachusetts have committed to extending their remote work policies "for the foreseeable future," in an effort to continue social distancing measures and slow the spread of COVID-19.
At a press conference on Friday, Gov. Baker said his administration has been in close contact with the private sector about plans for a phased reopening of the economy.
"An important part of this conversation has centered around continuing to give employees the ability to work remotely," said Baker. "Now, as we look to the weeks and months ahead, we're urging businesses to continue to promote remote work and work from home as much as possible."
While Baker said not everyone can work remotely, there are thousands of employees from hundreds of companies across the state now working from their homes. And, Baker said, it will become "more and more critical" for that remote work to continue in order for the state economy to gradually and safely reopen.
"Public Health officials have made clear that large numbers of people in enclosed spaces is exactly how this virus spread," said Baker. "That's part of the reason why many of the general guidances that we've put out there to businesses... from the reopening advisory board, [is to] make absolutely clear that distance at work will be a fundamental requirement for everybody."
Gov. Baker said his administration has extended its own remote work orders "for the foreseeable future" for the members of his executive branch workforce who have been working remotely since late March.
Several of the largest employers in the Commonwealth have also committed to continue their work-from-home policies for the foreseeable future, including Raytheon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mass Mutual, and Wayfair.
Many companies have reported successful transitions for employees now working from home. At Raytheon, where over half the company's global workforce is now working remotely, Baker said there are less people onsite, fewer people out in public, and fewer people who need to commute, all of which is helping to minimize the spread of the virus.
"By extending work from home policies... employers in many cases are supporting their employees, especially those who are at high risk," said Baker. "And at the same time, fighting back against the virus by preventing more spread."
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