Perhaps not for us all, but the changes to where, when, and how we work are unmistakable. Companies are no longer restricted to the available talent in a specific geographic area, nor expected to pay for relocation to acquire desired candidates.
Across the tech space, companies have been using the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to analyze and consider not only when it would be safe to return, but what would a “return to the office” look like? Is it even necessary? Let us examine just a few examples:
- In December 2020, Google announced that it was pushing back its return to the office until September 2021 and would be experimenting with a hybrid model that allows some employees to work from home part of the week. Employees would work three days in the office and the rest of the week at home. The idea is to test whether such a model would lead to greater productivity and employee well-being. “No company at our scale has ever created a fully hybrid workforce model-though some are starting to test it-so it will be interesting to try,” CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in an email to employees.
- In September 2020, Twitter announced that it had decided to sublease more than 100,000 square feet of its San Francisco headquarters as employees would continue working from home. They had announced in May that employees could work from home permanently if they want, as CEO Jack Dorsey has repeatedly said that having a decentralized workforce has been the goal for several years. “Opening offices will be our decision, when and if our employees come back, will be theirs.”
- Last summer, Pinterest spent $89 million to abandon a lease for a new 490.000 square-foot office space as shifts toward more evergreen remote/hybrid work models have become increasingly popular options within their ranks and the industry at large. “As we analyze how our workplace will change in a post-COVID world, we are specifically rethinking where future employees could be based. A more distributed workforce will give us the opportunity to hire people from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences,” said Pinterest’s Chief Financial Officer.
- Salesforce is the latest tech to announce that it is changing by adopting three new ways of working which it has dubbed “Work From Anywhere.” In February, Salesforce released new guidelines that offer employees options for how they will work in the future: office-based, flex, and fully remote. “An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead, and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks,’ Brent Hyder, the President and Chief People Officer of Salesforce, wrote in a blog post announcing the change. In March it was announced that Salesforce was reportedly dropping plans to lease 325,000 square feet of office space in San Francisco because of their “Work From Anywhere” initiative.
So, what does this all mean?
These companies are recognizing, at least in the shorter term, that there is no surefire way to guarantee employee safety as it relates to COVID. Leaders have also found that, particularly in the last year, many employees prefer the flexibility of not being bound to the office, but still desire to have some of the interaction that the office provided. For some, a sense of camaraderie and shared mission is more important, whereas the ability to travel and work from different locations at different times without losing connection is at the top of the list.
Understanding that employee needs are not monolithic in nature, providing options to help empower them to ensure productivity, as well as building or maintaining culture, has become crucial for companies to explore as the workforce continues to diversify across all industries.
A hybrid office approach allows companies of any size to provide the location and schedule flexibility that more and more workers are coming to expect while providing cost savings to the business.
For a full hybrid consultation and analysis, contact us today. The future is hybrid. We make hybrid work.