Forward thinking companies adopt permanent Work From Home positions -is this the future of work? — TripActions Community


Forward thinking companies adopt permanent Work From Home positions -is this the future of work?

I personally have quite a strong view on the benefits of remote work, being myself such a big 'Work from Home' and 'Work from Anywhere' advocate.

I thought this read was particularly insightful. More and more big employers are talking about permanent work-from-home positions. I reckon this is here to stay and we are experiencing the beginning of a massive (long overdue) shift - boosted by the current Covid-19 crisis.

We're not only talking about tech companies like Slack, Google, Amazon, Facebook or Microsoft (mentioned in this article). We're also talking about other sectors:

  • Mondelez' CEO said the coronavirus crisis has showed "we can work in different ways," and as a result, the company does not need all its global offices.
  • Nationwide, which has gone to 98% work from home during Covid-19, announced a permanent transition to a hybrid model, with working-from-office in four main corporate campuses and working-from-home in most other locations.
  • Barclays CEO Jes Staley said crowded corporate offices with thousands of employees "may be a thing of the past."


Such decisions show the way and give us a glimpse of what the Future of Work looks like.

There are huge benefits of WFH / remote work. A few examples: as an employer, you have access to a big talent pool, not limited geographically, you don't need to spend money in renting a big office space and you can invest what you saved in your product or your people, you value a management culture led by trust over control (Next Gen will appreciate that!). As an employee, this means more flexibility, priceless freedom and a sense of responsibility and empowerment most will highly value!

Of course there are challenges associated to that. Managers needs to be ready to support their teams, be able to create a "team spirit" while working in a virtual workspace, corporations need to have the right tools/IT infrastructure, and need to create regular face to face interactions opportunities (very important!).

That said, I believe it may not be for everyone as it depends on everyone's personality and aspirations. The company culture is critical in this, and so is recruitment. Maybe the solution lies in hybrid models to adjust to all needs?

Travel managers: I'm keen to understand if such policies has been discussed in your respective organisations, and what role travel and mobility can play in such policies?

I'm even tempted to push this further, with remote work policies influenced by the digital nomad lifestyle mixing work and travel. But let's save this for some future thread ;-)

Please share your thoughts!

Comments

  • gmartingmartin ✭✭

    WFH works if there's a healthy amount of engagement with the office outside of the home. I've been working remotely on and off for several years now and I find it extremely healthy to fly into the office every few weeks, interact with the team and build relationships. There's only so far that Zoom can take me.

    Plus the office has great snacks.

    I should also confess at this point that WFH also places a significant weight on one's personal life. If not carefully managed, it's possible to sit alone at one's desk for days -- if not weeks -- at a time, which can affect one's health.

  • I have worked from home for 18 years and I feel it is largely dependent on the personality and that interviewing appropriately. Are they someone that needs that team F2F like @gmartin? Can they give themselves the boundaries needed for working from home? For me, because I was traveling so much, I refused to work from an office because I felt since I was on the road so much it was a waste of my very precious home time to go into an office.

    I like the idea of companies moving to corp headquarters as hybrid and smaller offices going to remote.

    Allowing this new hybrid or WFH model enables the pool to widen considerably and even to result in unexpected cost savings (hiring someone in North Dakota is much more cost effective than hiring someone in Washington D.C. since the pay rate could consider cost-of-living).

  • csimoninicsimonini ✭✭

    Agree with @gmartin - and each company/organization will need to adopt/adapt to the new normal of what is best for their business + employees.

    Pre-COVID WFH was also different. One could work from home or any location w/ WIFI, come + go as needed, hop on a plane/train to see clients and/or colleagues to connect, take care of business and move about the world as needed.

    Today's WFH is very different and the choices to move about are not there, so as we emerge from this experience, a hybrid model may be the required evolution (not revolution) to embrace and refine. It's a journey together with empathy, understanding, flexibility and openness to test, learn and refine. 😊

  • @csimonini Yes, that is an excellent point about WFH pre-COVID and that we had the ability to travel. It provided me a good balance because I traveled. Now after two months home-bound, I would want variety (or ate least to be able to go out for coffee!)

    Oh what I would give to hear the bustling noise of a barista frothing a latte right now...

  • I've been WFH full-time since this pandemic started. Before, I was working from home a few hours a week. I found that working from home was very comfortable for me when it was a choice, but when it was mandated, it got even harder. I do agree that more and more companies are going to gravitate towards making all of their associates WFH, but they need to take into consideration the personal touch aspect that they are losing with their associates. There's only so much that Zoom meetings can do.

    Another issue that companies are not taking into consideration is the generational aspect. It might be hard for individuals, particularly the Baby Boomers to get use to the idea of not going into the office. It also might be an issue with technology with some companies. If this is an issue, the company needs to make an effort for education and training for each of their associates in order to offer each of their associates a fair chance.

  • The latest news is Twitter now allowing employees to work at home forever.

    To your point @WorkWellPlayMore definitely a personality thing, and it will matter more than ever now when recruiting talents.

    Agree @csimonini - we need a test & learn approach. Pre-Covid WFH vs. now WFH is different, we used to have much more freedom. It might also look different once we get to more stable situation. Somewhere in-between maybe?

    @Domgm2288 I agree, the perception and perspectives tend to vary by age group/generations and also the cultural background has a role to play. For example, I'm French, and one of the benefits of this crisis is that it has boosted digital transformation. Organisations tend to value control over trust, if managers don't see you, they don't know if you're working. For some of my contacts, it was the first time ever they worked from home, and their job doesn't require them to commute and sit in the same office Mon-Fri 9-5. Will they come back to the pre-Covid era once the crisis passes? We don't know. This leads me to think that the company culture will be a big(ger) differentiator now.

    I'd suggest some key areas to explore:

    1. IT infrastructure - make sure you provide the right tools for your virtual/remote teams and that your people know how to use them, how to effectively work remotely. It may require training for some team members.

    2. Company culture - articulate the components of your company culture and what it means to employees. This is particularly important when recruiting talents and for people management. Assess the fit: values/personality/expectations/way of working.

    3. Day-to-day management - it is essential that managers support their remote teams the way they need, and that they have the ability to create a safe space with open dialogue and transparency between co-workers and management. Some will value their freedom, some will want/need more guidance and would privilege some hybrid model.

    4. Sense of "belonging" - dispersed teams will need to meet face to face regularly (monthly, quarterly, yearly... depending on the nature of the activity) in order to bond, create/maintain team spirit, and simply to conduct the business. I agree with you all, zoom has its limits. IMO, this will create opportunities for (small) meetings in the future: companies will save money on office space and will invest in creating quality time between co-workers - once it is safe to gather again!

    5. Balance between travelling life/office life - @WorkWellPlayMore you have developed that point very well. I'll push this a bit further - there will be a generation eager to combine work/travel and that may be inspired to work from anywhere in the world (the digital nomad lifestyle inspiration). Maybe that's one component of the future of work. Or maybe companies will allow more flexibility: let's say 10 months out of 12 you need to be at the office, then the 2 remaining months you can work from anywhere. This may as well impact sourcing and travel programmes :)

  • My largest client is a company of about 300 with 150 contractors. A year ago, WFH was rare and they didn't feel like it worked with their culture. Now, they see that it can be done and can see the benefits. Being able to hire from anywhere in the country (or world) can open up their recruiting efforts. The staff are seeing how much time they have back by not commuting up to two hours one way (it's in Boston). And those commuters who travel by train are in NO hurry to go back because there is no social distancing that can be done.

  • Indeed, the talent pool is amazing. In case you haven't read it yet, strongly recommend the book REWORK written by the founders of Basecamp (already back in 2010). They tackle all clichés and arguments against WFH by sharing their own use cases and proven examples. It's brilliant!

  • Read it. Love it. I've worked from home since 2002. It's still hard to believe this is a new concept for some industries.

  • I saw the below article in BI that Apple will begin having some employees return to the office in June, and more in July. Facebook and Google I saw are also planning some return in the next couple months.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-return-to-work-plan-vs-google-microsoft-silicon-valley-2020-5

  • Great share. This makes sense for people working on hardware and also for the security reasons. I work with several biotech companies (Moderna is one of them!) and the scientists and lab staff HAVE to be in house, but also the critical nature of security has other people going in house as well.

  • Aurelie_KrauAurelie_Krau admin
    edited May 22

    Very interesting @Ryan Schwartz - Apple would have the capability and capacity (exception being people working on hardware of course/security, to echo @WorkWellPlayMore) to offer location independent job positions / permanent WFH *BUT* doesn't want to. This is where company culture enters the game ;-)

    The fit personal aspirations/personality <> company culture will be even more important when hiring new talents.

  • Very interesting announcement by Shopify who goes Digital by default and explain their "work from anywhere" mindset - in line with their company culture "Thrive in change". Worth a read!


  • I LOVE THIS ATTITUDE! Digital by default. Great way to state it. Time zone proximity over physical proximity. Core hours not commuting hours.

    This is such a great landing page for their hiring and an example for others in how they can shift and still show a company culture.

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