Work-from-home is no longer just a trend. It’s become a reality for many workers — and many will continue to work-from-home for the foreseeable future.
A number of companies have announced plans to convert employees into work-from-home employees permanently. Twitter (TWTR) has said that employees that want to remain working from home forever can choose to do so.
Shopify (SHOP) plans to keep its offices closed until 2021, although most employees will remain working remotely permanently, said CEO Tobi Lutke. Box (BOX) will also allow almost all of its workers to work from home through 2020.
Other businesses will likely consider allowing employees to continue to work from home as the effects of the pandemic wear on, especially if we see a second lockdown. Facebook (FB) has said that as many as half its employees will move to remote work within the next five to 10 years.
Thanks to the the pandemic, companies are realizing the benefits of working remotely — such as increased productivity and reduced turnover. A greater shift toward remote work also means work-from-home stocks will benefit.
The obvious picks — video conferencing stocks — have experienced a surge in interest from investors. Zoom Video Communications (ZM), one of the pure-plays on video conferencing, has seen its stock price rise by 270% since the start of the year. But there are other plays that still have room to run.
Here are three work-from-home stocks and will benefit from the trend even as COVID threat eventually subsides.
Fortinet Inc (FTNT)
Fortinet is a major cybersecurity player. With more employees working from home there’s an increased need for protecting sensitive work information.
Networks at home just aren’t as secure as robust networks and cybersecurity protocols installed at offices. As more workers are setting up their offices in their home there’s a need for protecting workers at home — especially as cyberattacks and hacks are also on the rise.
Fortinet has had a great year. Shares are up over 55% for 2020, but more could come. The company is a leader in next-generation firewalls, which allows for secure access to company networks. Compared to its top peer — Palo Alto Networks (PANW) — Forintent has an edge, based on Gartner peer reviews.
Slack Technologies Inc (WORK)
Companies that help employees work efficiently together while being in locations all over the world also will be winners. Slack is one such company.
Basically, Slack’s service replaces email with a more fluid communication platform. Slack itself is embracing the remote work trend, announcing in June that employees can work from anywhere indefinitely.
Slack’s biggest competitor is Microsoft’s (MSFT) Teams. Slack recently filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft in the European Union for bundling Teams within its Microsoft 365 product suite.
Teams is built for larger companies that already use Office 365. Slack has a more familiar feel and can be much easier to integrate for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Slack shares are down 11% in 2020 but better days are expected. Wall Street analysts expect earnings per share (EPS) to grow by 37.5% next year, which seems realistic as the work-from-home trend extends into 2021.
Logitech International SA (LOGI)
Logitech is a computer equipment and hardware company. If you’re working from home you’re going to need equipment, such as keyboards, speakers, and mice. Many people have had to set up home offices, which is good for Logitech.
Logitech also makes webcams, which is key for companies and employees that need to do video conferences or calls and either does not have a webcam or are looking for better quality than built-in products.
Logitech shares are up 67% this year. It’s been a great run, but there might still be room to run as companies continue to make work-from-home a permanent option. It also offers a 1.1% dividend yield.