I'm keeping track of announcements here: https://airtable.com/shrC1mvKjwntaqocO/tbl73UY1jDmReLge7
Tech companies have a huge incentive here - they can now start hiring engineers at non Bay Area prices. Which, if enough companies do it, means your salaries are at risk. Nobody cares that it’s expensive to live here, they only pay because they all insisted on in person offices. By going remote they can stop paying Bay Area rents and compensation levels.
I think, once the boss gets a taste of working from home, they too want to enjoy their fancy homes and spending times with their kids instead of sitting in traffic all day. And Covid now provides them a generally acceptable way to push that change through.
Recent news and surveys do indicate significant change expected in remote work changes and real estate footprint changes.
"Large companies already expect more of their workers to continue to work remotely and say they plan to reduce their real estate footprint, which will, in turn, reduce the foot traffic that feeds nearby restaurants, shops, nail salons and other businesses." [1.]
This is part of data from a deport by Deloitte [2.][3.]:
> "In a year, 75% of CFOs expect more of their workforce to work remotely and nearly half expect a smaller real estate footprint."
Regarding salaries due to support expensive city lifestyles: True, I would like to see how remote-first companies handle hiring people in such cities.
There would be a transition period, probably on the order of years to even decades, before they would cease considering the cost of living in where their remote workers live. Hopefully by that time, rents in the Bay Area will have dipped as people slow moving in/start moving out because of flexible remote work situations.
That hasn't happened yet either. It's more like "we're going to stop expanding".
The productivity gains of WFH might be only in comparison to awful open office plans, and may disappear when compared to more private office layouts. There are still major questions about long term impact to new hires and their growth, where retention takes a hit (employees feel more like free agents and consequently switch jobs more frequently), etc.
It seems incredibly short sighted to be making these decisions on the basis of a 3 month experiment with confounding factors (to say the least!).