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How Companies are Addressing the Future of Work

How Companies are Addressing the Future of Work

It’s safe to say that the bar is set high for 2021. With COVID-19 cases on the decline and vaccination administration passing the 50 Million mark, we are pushing toward a brighter and safer future. Yet still one of the biggest questions for the 71% of adult Americans currently working from home still remains – what’s next?

Prior to 2020, working from home was either seen as a privilege for high-flying executives or a measly excuse for a day off. Fast-forward 1 year and going into the office is reserved for…well…high-flying executives or out of absolute necessity. Oh how the times have changed!

Now that employees have experienced the freedom of working from anywhere, it’s hard to imagine Corporate America ever completely returning to its old model…and in fact, we are already seeing many of America’s biggest brands publicly address how they are thinking about the future of work.

A Timeline of the Future of Work:

May 12th, 2020 – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tells employees they will be allowed to work from home indefinitely

May 20th, 2020 – Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong blogs about “remote-first” future for employees

May 21st, 2020 – Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify says he would feel “absolutely comfortable” allowing Shopify employees to work from home permanently.

May 21st, 2020 – Mark Zuckerburg allows Facebook employees to request to permanently work from home.

Feb 9th, 2021 – Salesforce adopts “Work from Anywhere” model and allows employees to choose three different working options

Feb 12th, 2021 – Spotify blog post “Introducing Working from Anywhere” expands upon flexible approach

…and the list of companies continues to grow as more weigh the pros and cons of breaking the traditional 9-5 office model.

The Pros and Cons of Work From Home…for Your Employer:

Pros:

Talent Acquisition – You always hear CEOs saying “our people are our biggest asset”. Well now, we will really see them walk the walk. Companies going remote can now tap into an even broader talent pool by offering flexible working locations.

Talent Retention – All of a sudden when your spouse asks you to move to a new city, it doesn’t necessarily have to come with finding a new job. Employers can be flexible and retain top talent…and think about how many parents leave the workforce because it’s just too difficult and expensive to try and raise a family while going into the office

Smaller Offices = Lower Rent – We got a glimpse into this world with Pintrest paying a whopping $90M to terminate their lease. As more employees decide to work remotely, the demand for large office space dramatically declines, saving companies millions in rent payments.

Cons:

Onboarding – Starting a new job is always going to come with headaches, but starting one remotely is even more difficult. Fully remote workers will need to find creative ways to engage and connect with new hires or risk losing them early on in their careers.

Networking – It is abundantly clear that while Zoom Happy Hours are great ideas in practice, in reality, nothing can replace the real thing. Random one-off conversations with your boss’s boss that might lead to a new career opportunity don’t simply happen by chance in the virtual world and employers and employees will have to be much more intentional with the opportunities they create….also, who doesn’t love a good company happy hour?

Employee Mental Health – While partly COVID related, reported anxiety among adults is up 30% compared to 2019. Working from home means some people might not leave their room for an entire day, and as social beings, staying almost entirely isolated can have serve impacts on our mental and emotional wellbeing. While we at Porvata feel that a dedicated home office or workspace can dramatically help people separate work life and home life, it will be important for employers to find new ways to keep employees happy and healthy away from the office.

Tax Breaks – While somewhat uncommon, occasionally companies receive tax breaks and special privileges (remember HQ2) to locate in certain cities. While this will presumably decline as more employees work remotely, is that necessarily a bad thing?

So while we will all wait with bated breath to see exactly what our futures have in store, one thing is certain: how and where we work will never be the same.

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