Across the globe organizations are making the decision to permanently shift their workforce to a hybrid model.
What does this mean? Hybrid work is about creating a more flexible environment where employees do a combination of in-office and at-home work. Workers can typically choose where and when they get their job done. This shift toward hybrid work was underway in some industries before COVID-19 struck in spring 2020, and the pandemic has only accelerated the trend as many employees has shown they can work productively from home.
So, who is making the change? And how is it going? We’ve looked at five major companies that are making the switch and how it can apply to your company.
Making desks, rooms and other resources bookable in advance is a key component of hybrid working. Check out our recent webinars to learn more.
Earlier this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that as much as half of his 45,000 person staff could work entirely remotely in the next 5 to 10 years.
According to an article in VOX, “Facebook said many of its employees will follow a “hybrid” model of remote and in-person office work — coming in for onsite trainings, critical meetings, and culture-building onsite events.”
What does this mean? For Facebook, Zuckerberg has said more people will be hired remotely. He adds that this transition to hybrid work is not being done as a way to save money.
The VOX article quotes him as saying, “It’s really unknown what the economics of this are going to look like, or how much this is going to cost,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s possible that if this is done efficiently, it may be possible to save some capital, but I don’t think that it’s the primary reason why this should be done.”
Over at Google, a hybrid work model also appears to be the way of the future.
A Silicon Valley Business Journal article sharing the following information from a recent Google survey:
- The number of employees who said they would never need to return to the office to do their job well was cut in half between May and July, dropping from 20% to 10%.
- The 10% of Googlers who said in May that they would need to come in every day to do their job well decreased to 8% by July.
- Those who said they would only need to come to the office on an ad hoc basis, or only for particular events, increased from 13% to 15% between May and July.
- The top reasons that employees gave for wanting to return to the office were to work face-to-face with teammates, to socialize with teammates and to collaborate.
The Silicon Valley Business Journal article goes on to quote Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai as saying, “I see the future as definitely being more flexible. We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new,” Pichai told TIME. “We don’t see that changing, so we don’t think the future is just 100% remote or something. We definitely value our offices, we value the culture, but we do think we need to create more flexibility and so more hybrid models, so that’s how we are thinking about it.”
In a recent article with People Matters, Executive VP and Chief People Officer for Intel Corporation Sandra Rivera said, “While we have had to be nimble and adjust to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, our top priority remains the same: protecting the health and well-being of employees while keeping the business running to deliver for our customers. This meant everything from safeguarding our essential workers to making sure that other employees were able to adjust to a work-from-home situation. Frequent check-ins and over communication certainly have helped and we have had an increased focus on offering solutions for mental health and well-being as well.”
Rivera told People Matters that the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the need for companies to be more flexible and offer hybrid work solutions. On Intel’s company’s current culture, she says, “Our employees’ safety and well-being are our priority. We have built a strong culture of technology innovation and having positive impact in the communities where we operate, but as the marketplace evolves, so will we. A part of that is listening to our employees to understand their needs. Practices that have worked well have spread rapidly to other teams throughout the company and little things are making a big difference. For example, encouraging meeting-free Fridays and other ‘no meeting’ zones, shortening meetings by starting 10-minutes past the hour, encouraging employees to take days off to disconnect, and building in time for learning and development. These are ways we have found success in encouraging our employees to prioritize taking care of themselves and balancing the additional workloads we are all facing now.”
In a post pandemic work environment, tech giant Microsoft has already decided that more people will be working from home.
Microsoft’s Executive Vice President Kathleen Hogan is quoted in an October USA Today article talking about the shift to hybrid work, “Flexibility can mean different things to each of us, and we recognize there is no one-size-fits-all solution given the variety of roles, work requirements and business needs we have at Microsoft,” said Hogan, who also shared this sentiment in a blog post from Friday. “To address this, we have provided guidance to employees to make informed decisions around scenarios that could include changes to their worksite, work location, and/or work hours once offices are open without any COVID-19 restrictions.”
After the pandemic is over, Microsoft has said it will be the new normal for “most roles to remain remote less than 50% of the time with manager approval… Employees who choose to work remotely on a permanent basis won’t have assigned office spaces but will have access to flexible “touchdown space” at Microsoft’s offices, according to The Verge.”
Amazon marketing firm Molzi recently leased a larger space in Surrey, England. According to a recent article in Wired UK, “Molzi will begin to encourage employees in for socially distanced meetings and collaboration “if they feel comfortable when government guidelines allow”. Molzi CEO Chris Mole expects the office to run like a WeWork-style social workplace, “where teams can organise their in-office days within their business units, and also continue to enjoy part-time remote-working.” With vaccines close offices are returning but having one no longer means forcing everyone to work in it all the time.”
Other Companies Taking the Plunge
The five companies we have highlighted are certainly not alone. In fact, they are becoming the rule rather than the exception. Notable, industry leading companies such as Amazon, Twitter, Airbnb, Indeed, Uber, Reuters, and Salesforce have all said they will make permanent changes in the way that people do their jobs.