Plenty of discussion during COVID has centered around remote work vs. in-office work. In other words, post-COVID, what will the new work norm be?
What we’re seeing, though, is that the decision that companies make is not binary. Many businesses will adopt flexible work policies that combine aspects of virtual and office work.
Before the pandemic swept the world, a National Compensation survey found that around 7 percent of workers in the U.S. had “access to a ‘flexible workspace’ benefit or telework” and were able to regularly work from home. That figure has since jumped to 64 percent, according to SHRM and Oxford Economics.
The technology — a reliable Internet connection, meeting and project management software, etc. — has existed for years. It just took a drastic change to make employers at all levels embrace the possibility.
Tech Companies Go Virtual At Faster Rates
Meanwhile, it’s interesting to see that tech companies like Atlassian, a global enterprise software company, are taking the bold step of announcing permanent work-from-home policies.
“We will no longer be held back by the old way of doing things — being cautious, fiercely protecting our norms and not reaching great talent beyond our offices,” Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar wrote in an internal company blog post revealed by SmartCompany.com.
“We have an exciting opportunity to create the future of work by living it,” Farquhar continued. “But we can’t do it with half-measures and wait-and-see approaches.”
It’s not surprising that other tech companies are making similar announcements. By eliminating the geographic constraint, it’s easier to find candidates for hard-to-fill roles in software, engineering, data science, and product.
Automattic (owners of WordPress.com), Gitlab, and Trello have worked remotely for years. In addition, CNN recently reported that Okta, a workplace software company, will let “most of its employees work remotely on a permanent basis.” And Zillow is allowing 90 percent of its workforce to work from home – at least part of the time – indefinitely.
Some more companies are now open to the idea of a permanent work-from-home arrangement, including:
- Lambda School
Something to keep an eye on – which we address in this blog post – is that not all tech companies are slowing their office growth. So while a certain segment of a company’s workforce may work from home, there seems to be a consensus among the biggest players (see: Google, IBM, Amazon) that office work will continue to have a role in the modern business world.
This leads us to believe that flex work is the future.
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