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4 Must-Buy Stocks as More Employees Prefer to Work From Home

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the employment landscape. Although working from home isn’t a new phenomenon, the concept gained popularity more out of necessity amid the virus outbreak. And given that a vaccine to wipe out the virus is still far from reality, several companies are extending work from home until mid-2021.

Per a new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the work-from-home practice has almost tripled since the coronavirus outbreak. Employees too are now comfortable working remotely. Needless to say, this new normal is spurring demand for computer hardware, peripherals, network software and cloud business.

Employees Prefer Working From Home

Per a new research from IDC, prior to the pandemic, an average organization had 14% of its workforce working remotely. This has since increased to 45%. Many organizations predict that work-from-home employees will remain a large part of the disparate workforce even after the pandemic. Innovations have delivered the same connectivity and productivity tools to hybrid and remote workers that they once had as brick-and-mortar employees. This, the survey noted, will be crucial to long-term success.

The research also mentions that enterprises will extend desktop and workspace by spending an additional $2 billion for employees working from home. Moreover, companies too are allowing employees to work remotely for extended periods so as to avoid health risks. Twitter got the ball rolling in mid-May when it announced that some of its employees could permanently work from home. In August, Alphabet, Inc. GOOGL followed suit.  Microsoft Corporation MSFT, Chevron Corporation CVX, Facebook, Inc. FB and Uber Technologies, Inc. UBER have also given employees the option to work from home until mid-2021. In September, Salesforce.com, Inc. CRM extended the option to work from home until Jul 31 next year.

Hardware, Network & Software Demand on the Rise

The decision to allow employees to work from home is coming at a time when childcare, education and safety concerns are on the rise. However, working from home is a different ballgame as it requires a set-up like office. This has seen demand for video collaboration products skyrocket over the past few months. An increasing number of locked-down staff is relying on video conferencing equipment, software and webcams.

Storage and data protection software sales grew 12.5%, while security software sales grew 5.3%, representing nearly a quarter of the sales in the software market during this time. According to another report by IDC, PC shipments grew in the second quarter despite an economic slowdown. The report says global shipments grew 11.2% year over year to 72.3 million units.

Traditional PC shipments posted double-digit year-over-year growth in the second quarter of 2020. While the first quarter saw the lowest PC shipments in over a decade, the second quarter was record-breaking for the opposite reason.

Our Choices

The at-home culture is here to stay for a longer time than expected with no signs of the pandemic easing. Demand for PCs, Internet with strong connectivity, video conferring apps, laptops, tablets and other peripherals will only grow in such a situation, helping these four stocks to gain.

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. ZM has been benefiting from the work-from-home and online learning wave. Zoom uses AI to schedule video meetings and for a host of other things such as organizing attendee details and transcripting details.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is more than 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 96.8% over the past 60 days.  The company carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Lenovo Group Ltd. LNVGY is dedicated to building PCs and mobile Internet devices. Lenovo's business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 37.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 1.4% over the past 60 days. Lenovo has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Salesforce.com, Inc. acquired Bonobo AI, a firm using automated analysis of customer phone calls, texts and chats to deliver actionable insights. This fits perfectly with Salesforce Einstein, the company's AI-powered software that uses data to identify previously unseen business patterns, deliver the hottest sales leads, predict which marketing copy will perform best and generally optimize how businesses operate and convert. 

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 25.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 25.9% over the past 60 days. Salesforce carries a Zacks Rank #1.

Blackbaud, Inc. BLKB is a leading cloud software company working for social causes. The company combines technology and expertise to help organizations achieve their missions.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 24.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 9.4% over the past 60 days. Blackbaud has a Zacks Rank #2.

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