There’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to the future of where we work. The seismic shift to hybrid working has completely revolutionised the way we think about offices, remote working, and employees’ workplace needs — meaning there’s no longer a “standard” way of working.
As such, different companies have responded in different ways. From Amazon to Twitter, even the world’s most famous names are opting for flexible workplace strategies.
For some, ditching the office and going fully-remote has enabled them to make significant savings on office rent. While others stand firm in the belief that going back to the office is the best option. And, of course, many companies have opted for a more hybrid approach.
But which of the world’s major players believe the office is here to stay, and which have ditched their leases altogether?
Below, we’ve sifted through the noise and gathered key insights into how over 40 of the world’s most famous companies are approaching their future workplace strategies. We’ll also be keeping this article updated as and when more information becomes available — so make sure you bookmark the page to stay up to speed!
The Official List of Every Company’s Back-to-Office Strategy
First up, we’ve got the companies who’ve identified that most work will continue to occur in the office.
However, this isn’t to say that these companies won’t allow any remote work for their employees. Rather, these organisations have publicly indicated that the office remains the primary workplace.
David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, was always keen to get his 60,000 employees back to their desks. In a 2021 Bloomberg Television interview, he stated, “I certainly would expect a lot of Goldman Sachs employees back in full by the end of the year.”
But, of course, the finance giant faced a bunch of setbacks. However, Solomon always stood firm in the belief that in-person interaction is integral to the “eco-system of the firm”.
The office-first strategy finally came into effect in March 2022. Just five weeks after a failed attempt to bring workers back into its New York headquarters, Solomon demanded that all workers must return to the office five days a week.
“I do think for a business like ours which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, (remote working) is not ideal for us and it’s not a new normal,” he said. But only half of Goldman’s 10,000 HQ workers had shown up to work in person, despite having had over two weeks’ notice.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Goldman Sachs’ anti-remote strategy is still running into the same problems. Despite Solomon’s strict stance on office work, many employees are still not showing up. Time to reassess?
Arguably the most outspoken business leader around remote working, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, apparently doesn’t “see any positives” to working from home. In a 2020 interview with the WSJ, he stated: “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”
As COVID restrictions waxed and waned, Netflix responded accordingly. While office workers were not required to show proof of vaccination, Netflix’s cast and crew needed to be jabbed in order to work at their studios.
As for office workers, an official date for a full return to the offices is yet to be announced.
The hybrid camp is seemingly the most popular amongst the big names. But as you’ll see in the examples below, what “hybrid” actually means can vary drastically from company to company.
Each of these organisations has opted for their own unique workplace configuration.
For some, this involves downsizing or ditching their offices altogether to make significant savings on office rent. For others, it involves giving all employees the freedom to choose where they want to work, whenever they want to work there. And there’s those choosing to implement more structured policies — for instance, designating certain days or times to be in the office and allowing employees to work remotely for the rest of the time.
In June 2021, Adobe’s Chief People Officer, Gloria Chen, confirmed that the company would be opting for the hybrid approach. In a blog post, Chen outlined how employees will spend half their time working in the office and home.
“We’ll gather for the moments that matter. We will have an intentional mix of physical and virtual presences, with in-person gatherings driven by purpose and designed for collaboration,” Chen wrote.
As of 2023, there have been no major updates to Adobe’s hybrid work strategy. In fact, they outlined their top reasons for adopting a hybrid workplace policy — citing separation anxiety from pets, family life and home comforts as leading factors. They’ve also released plans to open an Atlanta office in an extra bid to embrace hybrid working.
In May 2022, Airbnb hit the headlines when CEO Brian Chesky announced that employees would be able to work from anywhere in the world without experiencing a pay cut.
“You can move anywhere in the country, like from San Francisco to Nashville, and your compensation won’t change,” Chesky wrote in a Tweet. This is a refreshing contrast from Google’s strategy, where they stated remote employees in the U.S. may receive a deduction in pay.
As a result, the accommodation platform’s announcement was celebrated amongst companies and teams worldwide. Their approach shows that they’re genuinely an authentic hybrid workplace and that, no matter where employees work, they’ll still be as valuable as they were in the offices.
As of 2023, there have been no major changes to AirBnB’s strategy.
In April 2021, Jeff Bezos said that its employees would return to the office full-time in the autumn. However, Amazon is yet another business giant to make a U-turn. It initially decided to opt for a hybrid scheme that allowed employees to work from home two days per week.
The management team would determine which two days their employees can work remotely — and they must request a permit to do so. If approved, Amazon would then consider the employee as “primarily” a remote worker, with an “agile, non-dedicated” workspace for in-person collaborations.
The initial reopening date was set for September 7th 2021, but this was soon extended to January 2022. However, in October 2021, Amazon ditched this plan altogether and announced that it was no longer a requirement for corporate workers to return to offices.
“At a company of our size, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for how every team works best,” CEO Andy Jassy said.
But surprise, surprise, there’s been another U-turn. In February 2023, Jassy wrote that employees “should go back to being in the office together the majority of the time”.
Now, employees will be expected to work from Amazon HQs at least three days per week, citing communication, collaboration and innovation as the main drivers for the decision.
In 2021, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, implied that the company’s success during the pandemic could enable more flexibility to work remotely in the future — though he still saw the value of colleagues and teams working together in person.
So, in June 2021, Cook sent employees an email that asked them to return to the office for three days per week — Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with the option to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate,” he says.
Apple employees addressed Cook in an open letter, expressing their concerns and asking for the policy to change — but Apple denied the request. Instead, it was declared that fully-remote positions would be minimal and decided on a “case-by-case” basis.
As for the official date for the three-day return; this was originally scheduled for September 2021, but was subsequently pushed back by a month. As the objections continued, Apple once again delayed its plans to return to the office to early 2022.
After a wave of further complaints, postponements and strategy shifts, Apple landed on something slightly looser than previous proposals. Cook has ordered workers to come into offices on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the third day decided by individual teams.
Apple employees are still pushing for more flexibility, with employees most recently launching another petition to advocate for more flexibility. The group that operates under the name ‘Apple Together’ came together to vocalise their concerns.
“We believe that Apple should encourage, not prohibit, flexible work to build a more diverse and successful company where we can feel comfortable to ‘think different’ together”.
Fast-forward to 2023, Apple has announced they’re relaxing its COVID-19 policy to encourage workers back into offices. Corporate workers will no longer have to get tested before entering the office.
Asda is another company to opt for the hybrid approach. Once restrictions eased, the supermarket group said it’d allow 4,000 employees based in the Leeds and Leicester offices to choose where they work.
“Our staff will have the flexibility to work from home when it’s more productive to do so, such as tasks that involve planning or research”, Asda said. But when employees are needed for team meetings or training sessions, they’ll be encouraged to attend in person.
But all in all, the trust is there. Asda also said its new hybrid approach would encourage employees to select the best place to do their job — whether that’s their home, the head office, or even a store or depot.
And so far, so good! There are no major updates to Asda’s hybrid workplace strategy as of 2023.
The Bank of England has operated on a hybrid workplace strategy since July 2021 — with one day in the office and the rest at home. The bank’s COO, Joanna Place, spoke to the Investment Association on how they came to this decision:
“A recent survey of Bank staff showed that the majority hope to work from home at least two days per week”, she said.
“We’ve established a set of trial guidelines—and which we are positioning as a pilot — to encourage more flexible working”. Ms Place also mentioned how bosses would encourage their staff to hold collaborative, in-person “team days” in the office.
The “one day in the office” policy was supposed to come into effect early September 2021 — but instead, the banking giant found itself in a bit of controversy. Once the official date came, the bank had reportedly ‘abandoned’ the policy; much to the dismay of staff who said they were missing out on deals and networking.
But they were quick to put the world to rights and deny they’ve made a U-turn on their return-to-work policy. In a statement, the Bank of England emphasised how they were being mindful of individual’s circumstances and health concerns.
And soon after, the Bank learnt to accept hybrid working permanently in order to attract new recruits. According to Andrew Bailey, the bank’s governor, there’s a prolific expectation among skilled jobseekers that remote working would be part of their employment. “As employers we are all having to face the fact that we are having to recruit people in a job market where that is increasingly part of the work-life balance,” Bailey said.
And for us at Hubble, it appears the consensus has remained the same.
Canva announced that it’ll commit a flexible work model for its employees long-term. The company has said it’ll focus on flexibility and connection, while abolishing any formal rules that were previously in place around office attendance.
Now, employees are expected to come into the office just eight times per year.
Canva said this decision was put in place after internal research, including a survey showing 81% of its teams saying they wanted to continue balancing working from the HQ with remote work even when all restrictions are eased in Australia.
This has remained much the same since Canva made the announcement back in 2021.
In Autumn 2021, Capital One officially became a hybrid company. Writing in a blog post, the finance giant outlined that a significant chunk of their employees will split their time between working remotely and in the office — as well as supporting fully remote options.
Mondays and Fridays would be company-wide remote workdays where employees can choose where they work best. Capital One’s offices will be open on the remaining days, where employees can collaborate and spend meaningful time with their colleagues.
While the policy was introduced last Autumn, Capital One’s offices haven’t fully opened yet. After rising cases of Delta and Omicron, the bank has confirmed they’re postponing their return-to-office date to “sometime in 2022“.
Fast-forward to September 2022, and Capital One fully reopened its offices for the first time since the pandemic. In a blog post, the bank encouraged employees to return to offices from Tuesday to Thursday to “spend meaningful time in collaboration with colleagues”.
So, how’s this shaping up in 2023? Well, there are no major updates to report from our side. We’ll update you as soon as we find out!
At the start of the pandemic, Citigroup Inc clearly didn’t see remote working as a permanent company strategy. But the company was quick to make a U-turn.
CEO Jane Fraser wrote that most roles in the bank would become hybrid. In February 2022, the banking giant called for all vaccinated employees in the United States to head back into offices towards the end of March for at least two days per week.
James Bardwick, the company’s UK Chief Executive, echoed this by stating the “vast majority” of its workers will return to the office three days per week. “We are now free to gather in our offices, without restriction, where we are better able to generate the energy and collaborative spirit on which Citi thrives,” Bardrick said in a company-wide email.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Fraser still sees no need to return to the old ways. But that’s not to say Citi’s experiment hasn’t had its challenges. In fact, the less productive employees are being called back into the office for coaching.
“We do measure productivity very carefully,” Fraser said during a Bloomberg News panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “You can see how productive someone is or isn’t, and if they’re not being productive we bring them back into the office, and give them the coaching they need until they bring the productivity back up again”.
Deutsche Bank CEO James von Moltke has said the bank plans to allow staff to work remotely for up to three days per week. As far as large banks go, this policy is considered “one of the most flexible” return-to-work policies out there.
“The decision will really be up to the employees”, von Moltke recently told Bloomberg in a television interview. “But in a structured way with their managers, so we know when people are expected to come to the office.”
But across the pond, things are slightly different. Christiana Riley, Deutsche Bank’s CEO in America, unveiled a plan to bring 5,000 U.S. workers back to their NYC offices. However, they stressed that the returning employees would still have the option of more flexible working arrangements.
In December 2021, Deutsche Bank AG significantly reduced the number of staff working in London offices. According to a reliable source, the arrangements were similar to what was rolled out earlier in the pandemic. Most staff will work from home, with exceptions for trading teams or those that require attendance in the office.
But in January 2022, Deutsche Bank joined the bank rush. They invited more employees back to the offices — with most working on average around three days a week in the office, a spokesperson said.
The banking giant has also pumped a lot of money into designing workplaces to facilitate hybrid working. For example, their new American headquarters in New York City has trading floors, including lockers for hybrid employees — specifically to help avoid lugging equipment back and forth.
After collaborating with leaders and employees alike, DoorDash announced they’d transition from their official (WFH) guidance to a hybrid work model in January 2022.
In a blog post, DoorDash gave “flexibility” and “recognising that every team’s needs are different” as reasonings for the change. “This new hybrid approach will enable us to best support our people and the work we do, together”, a spokesperson wrote.
Throughout the years, DoorDash has reinforced its commitment to flexible working, where teams decide how to balance in-person with remote work.
In fact, a 2023 DoorDash survey revealed that over 60% of Canadian dashers would “stop dashing” if flexible working hours were stripped away.
Walt Disney Co. cautiously reopened its U.S. offices in July 2021, where only a fraction of its employees initially returned. Initially, Disney’s office locations opened for three days per week, with employees having the flexibility to work remotely for the remaining two days.
But Disney is yet another company to backtrack slightly on flexible work arrangements.
In January 2023, Disney employees received a memo from CEO Bob Iger, stating that the media giant would be reversing its hybrid workplace policy. Instead of two remote work days per week, the company is now mandating a four-day return to Disney offices.
“In a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe and create with peers that comes from being physically together, nor the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors”, wrote Iger in the memo.
But Disney employees are rebelling against the new mandate. According to the Washington Post, 2,300 workers have signed a petition in protest of what will be one of the strictest hybrid workplace policies in a post-pandemic world of work. “There is value in being together, but we also need to look forward and embrace new paradigms that add value,” the petition reads.
In July 2021, eBay reopened most of its California offices — with its CEO, Jamie Iannone, welcoming back his staff on LinkedIn.
“As we slowly start to come back to the office, that can bring its range of challenges and emotions. But right now, after spending my first year as CEO getting to know our community on screens, I am thrilled to start meeting our team in person,” Iannone wrote.
What’s more, eBay employees can come into the office voluntarily — affording them the choice to work wherever they feel most comfortable.
Fast-forward to 2023, and eBay’s flexible workspace policy hasn’t changed!
In November 2021, Ericsson announced they’d be cutting desk space by 40% to create more social and coworking areas. It was a clear push for hybrid working, with the telecommunication giant stating they expected half of its 102,000 workforce to continue working remotely.
But Peter Laurin, Head of Managed Services at Ericsson, clarified that the plan was not to reduce office space. “You will still have a chair when you come into the office, but instead of going to your old desk, you may be sitting in a conference room or a lounge area,” he said said.
“We don’t know yet what the optimal mix will be,” Laurin said. “But what is certain is that the company won’t go back “ever” to the set up of the past”.
Throughout the years, Ericsson’s hybrid vision has been treated as an experiment. The company even developed employee “personas” using data to create new office spaces tailored to the employees who’d actually use them. The plan is to redesign its 400 offices globally over the next five years.
Throughout the years, accountancy firm EY has always believed in a hybrid workplace model.
In the UK, a mixture of office and remote work is part of their long-standing flexible working culture and has been in place well before the pandemic hit.
But that’s not to say they don’t see the value of employees working in offices. In fact, EY are strong believers that a hybrid model maximises the benefits of both in-person collaboration and remote working.
While employees can work flexibly for some of the time, EY also recognises the importance of employees working together in person for collaboration, relationship building, training and well-being purposes.
But while a survey of its workers found that many wanted to be in the office part-time—say, a couple of times a week—the company wasn’t seeing this reflected in the number of workers actually showing up.
So, what did EY do to coax employees back into offices? They created a benefits programme that directly tackled the pet care, childcare and commuting issues that employees expressed were barriers to working in offices.
In what they called the “EY way of working transition fund”, EY’s programme covered all commuting costs, all dependent care costs and all pet care costs for its U.S. workers so that those barriers would be removed for office visits.
All of its 55,000-plus U.S. employees were able to request reimbursements on those costs an unlimited amount of times.
In 2020, Google decided to opt for a more uniform and structured implementation of hybrid working.
Back then, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated he wanted to introduce more flexibility into the company’s working practices but informed employees that they’d still be expected to work in the office at least three times a week.
However, Google allowed employees to continue working from home til June 2021. This impacted roughly 200,000 workers and made its mark on the polarising ‘Office vs Home’ debates. The tech giant essentially gave the green light for other organisations to feel comfortable extending their remote work policies.
But as time passed, Google took stricter stances on remote work. Not only did they expect workers to “live within commuting distance” of offices, but Google also communicated that U.S. employees who opted for permanent remote working might get a pay cut.
Google also told employees that if they wanted to “work remotely after Sept 2021, for more than 14 days per year”, they’d have to formally apply for it. They could also apply “for up to 12 months” in the “most exceptional circumstances.”
But like many companies, the tech giant encountered a few false ‘return to office’ starts. Google tried to make the change in 2021, but rising Covid-19 cases caused delay after delay.
During this time, Google attempted to excite workers about returning to the office. In 2022, they announced they’d be forking out a whopping $2.1bn for a new “biophilic” office complex in Manhattan—according to the Financial Times.
And soon enough, the official return-to-office date was officially set.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google employees in the San Francisco Bay Area and several other U.S. locations began to return to workplaces on 4 April 2022, where most employees spend 3 days in the office.
However, there’s still a fair amount of flexibility. Various teams determine the three days; employees can come in more often if they’d like. Employees could also be required to come in more “due to the nature of their work,” the memo said.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Google’s Cloud unit told its staff that it would transition to a ‘desk-sharing’ workplace in its five largest locations. Employees will be encouraged to alter the days they’re in the office, either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday.
In 2021, Grammarly opted for a “remote-first” hybrid model — which essentially means that their modes of collaboration will assume every team member is remote.
The writing tools company’s CEO, Brad Hoover, outlined the plan in a blog post, stating that their offices will transform into “hubs” whereby teams can work or hold face-to-face meetings if need be.
On the 21st of September 2021, Grammarly injected a COVID-19 vaccination policy into their “remote-first” hybrid strategy. The policy requires their employees in North America who meet for in-person collaboration to be vaccinated against the virus.
And so far, so good. There have been no major changes to Grammarly’s “remote-first” hybrid model.
In April 2021, HSBC CEO Noel Quinn wrote in a LinkedIn post that most of the bank’s roles — including his and the executive team’s — would be done in a hybrid way.
While employees could choose between remote and office work, Quinn mentioned that he and his leadership team would ditch their offices and work in a “fully open plan office with no designated desks” upon returning.
In the UK, HSBC announced that they’d be freeing up more office desk space in January 2022. But in September, HSBC’s office plans took an interesting turn.
The bank announced it’d be reviewing the “best future location in London for (their) global headquarters” — including renovating the existing building and moving to new premises.
While they are keeping its global headquarters in London, they are reducing its office footprint to create more flexible workspace on a global scale.
This is still the case in 2023. According to the Sunday Times, HSBC is still looking for new London offices that are half the size of its current HQ in Canary Wharf.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of the banking giant, cited the need for a flexible, hybrid model after speaking critically about remote work in May 2021. “I’m about to cancel all my Zoom meetings”, he told the Wall Street Journal Council Summit. “I’m done with it.”
As a result, J.P. Morgan Chase announced it would be adopting a hybrid approach.
In his annual letter to shareholders, Dimon wrote that “many employees” will work in the office full time, “some employees” will operate under a hybrid model, and 10% of employees with “very specific roles” will work remotely full-time.
This decision refers to Daniel Pinto’s, the company’s Co-President and COO, comments from August 2020. Pinto stated that a rotational model — where employees work a few days in the office and a couple of days at home — was most likely, as it would reduce demand for office space, support their sustainability efforts, and help make significant savings.
J.P. Morgan officially reopened its offices in February 2022, where 10% of employees are permitted to work remotely full time, about half must return to the office full time, and the remaining 40% can split their time.
For that remaining 40%, Dimon said he and the company’s executives maintain a “general expectation” of three days of in-person work per week.
In 2023, Dimon is still speaking critically about remote work. In an interview with CBNC, Dimon said working from home “doesn’t work” for younger staff or bosses. “It doesn’t work for young kids or spontaneity or management”, he said.
Back in May 2021, accounting and consultancy group KPMG told its 16,000 UK employees that they’d only work in the office for an average of two days per week. In a bid for even more flexibility, the accounting giant gave their staff an extra 2.5 hours off each week to avoid burnout during summer.
But this level of flexibility lasted only a short time. In November 2021, KPMG’s Head of Audit Catherine Burnet told staff they’d be required to come into the office for four days instead of the original two. This was due to concerns that remote working could impact “audit quality“.
We’re now in 2023, and we haven’t seen any significant updates to KPMG’s stricter “office-first” hybrid workplace policy.
In March 2022, Lyft officially announced its plans to become a fully flexible workplace.
Almost all new and existing team members will be free to choose how and where they work — whether that’s the office, home or a combination of the two.
Lyft’s philosophy is centred around supporting an extraordinary office experience that brings people together intentionally and organically without set days or obligations.
In a blog post, Kristin Sverchek, President of Business Affairs at Lyft, outlines how their flexible workplace policy differs from other remote-first models.
“Spending time in the office is a valuable part of Lyft’s culture, and we’ve found that thoughtful and intentional interaction is key to our success”, Sverchek writes. “This is where we felt hybrid models failed: specific required days in-office are often arbitrary and overly prescriptive to distributed teams with different needs”.
Instead, Lyft gives their employees the freedom to work from anywhere, anytime. As of 2023, this hasn’t changed!
Meta’s (formerly known as Facebook) 50,000+ employees worked remotely from March 2020 to March 2022.
Throughout those two years, Meta always took a flexible approach. In May 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed he could see half of Meta’s employees permanently working remotely within the next 5-10 years.
Two months later, Meta doubled down on even more flexibility. In June 2021, they announced that all employees across the company could request to work remotely full-time after the pandemic — after previously stating that only those in senior roles could.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Mark Zuckerberg is now encouraging staff to “find more opportunities to work with your colleagues in person.”
Meta is the latest high-profile company to walk away from lenient work-from-home policies. “This is the company’s year of efficiency”, Zuckerberg wrote in a press release that called workers back into offices and included “refining” Meta’s distributed work model.
In 2021, Microsoft told employees that they could work from home part-time permanently without formal approval from their managers.
The company covers home office expenses, but those who opt for the permanent remote work option will lose their assigned office space. They will, however, be able to use “touchdown spaces” available at Microsoft’s offices.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasised this in a LinkedIn post: “hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation — and it’ll require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes”.
The tech giant also gave up on predicting an official return date. Instead, they stated they would continue making choices based on data, not dogma.
In 2022, Microsoft began calling employees back to its headquarters, but its return-to-office strategy hinges on hybrid work. While they still value and support flexibility as part of their hybrid workplace, employees whose schedules are more than 50% remote, must receive approval from managers.
No major updates in 2023.
In June 2021, Morgan Stanley’s (MS) CEO, James Gorman, made headlines when he said he expects his New York employees to return to offices by Labor Day (Sept. 6). “If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office—and we want you in the office,” Gorman said at an investing conference.
In February 2022, Morgan Stanley officially reopened its offices. But in doing so, the finance giant tightened restrictions by stating that employees in sales can only work up to 90 days per year from home.
Fast-forward to 2023, and James Gorman has maintained his pro-office and anti-remote work stance. “Working remotely is not an employee choice”, he said.
In 2021, Nationwide announced a permanent transition to a hybrid model, with employees working from the office in the four main corporate offices and working from home in the other locations.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Nationwide still operates on a flexible workplace policy. Thirteen thousand of the UK’s biggest building society’s staff can work where they want.
This initiative, Work Anywhere, came after 57% of their employees said they’d like to work full-time from home — and a further 36% said they wanted a blend of home and office work.
Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker said: “Our associates and our technology team have proven to us that we can serve our members and partners with extraordinary care and a large portion of our team working from home.”
In 2021, NatWest also decided on a hybrid approach. The business giant stated that over a third of its 59,300 UK full-time employees would continue to work from home, and a further 55% would adopt a blend of office and remote work.
NatWest chief executive, Alison Rose, spoke candidly about how their future workplace strategy was forward-thinking. “I would say that we’ve busted the myth that jobs need to be done in a certain way,” she told staff. “We have learnt new ways of working, and it’s important we carry those learnings forward.”
So, how is this shaping up in 2023? NatWest is still a proud advocate for hybrid working. Their careers page outlines how the banking giant works and offers a breakdown of three categories where prospective employees will work, depending on the job they’re applying for.
In 2021, Ocado Group, the tech firm behind the online grocer, announced they’d allow employees to work abroad for one month per year as part of their hybrid strategy. The firm’s Chief People Officer, Claire Ainscough, gave “balance and choice” as primary reasons for the move.
Ainscough said the flexible policy answered a “top question” from staff—specifically those who had relatives living abroad and would rather not use their leave to visit them.
So, how is this ‘work from anywhere’ initiative looking in 2023? Well, it was such a success that Ocado Group employees still have the choice to work abroad for up to one month per year.
Ocado Group’s broader hybrid workplace policy allows colleagues to work flexibly where possible while encouraging employees to “collaborate” in the office for at least 40% of their working time.
“In addition we have set the month of August and half of December to be fully work from home as an option,” an Ocado spokesperson told Charge, a retail tech news hub.
Just six months into the pandemic, Reddit announced it’d permanently switch to a hybrid workplace model. Since October 2020, the social media giant’s entire workforce has had the flexibility to work wherever they want—whether that’s at the office, from home or a blend of the two.
There have been no significant updates to Reddit’s flexible hybrid workplace policy as of 2023!
In February 2021, Revolut announced its plans to move its 2000 employees to a permanent remote working model. “Once countries start to lift travel restrictions or slowly move away from lockdowns, after over a year behind closed doors, we believe this new policy will be a huge success”, says Jim MacDougall, the company’s VP of People.
“Our employees asked for flexibility, and that’s what we’re giving them as part of our ongoing focus on employee experience and choice”. Revolut also stated they’d allow employees to work abroad for up to 60 days per year, dependent on travel restrictions and guidance from health authorities.
Fast-forward to 2023, Revolut is still operating on a hybrid workplace policy. “Internal surveys showed that Revolut’s employees responded positively to remote working, as more than 56% preferred to work from home between two and four times a week, while 36% liked a fully remote policy,” Alexandra Loi, global head of HR at Revolut said.
“Ultimately, it is all about employee choice, we give our staff flexibility to choose where they work. It has been very well received, staff are using it and those that do find it very beneficial.”
Salesforce told employees that they could continue working from home until December 31, 2021 — but as soon as it hits 2022, they’d be required to work in the office between 1-3 days per week. “The nine-to-five workday is dead, and the employee experience is more than ping-pong tables and snacks”, said Brent Hyder, the company’s Chief People Officer.
But this flexible workplace policy is taking a slightly different shape in 2023.
According to an internal Slack message viewed by Business Insider, Salesforce’s annual strategic plan was recently revised by CEO Marc Benioff. Among the changes are eliminating the bottom 5% of underperformers in the company annually — and reinstating return-to-office mandates.
The return-to-office mandate asks non-remote employees to work from Salesforce offices at least three days a week. For “customer-facing” employees, it’s four days a week.
This change in tune was surprising as not long ago, Benioff expressed negative opinions of other companies forcing employees back to the office. However, pressure from new investors has meant doubling down on productivity in recent months.
In February 2021, Spotify made headlines when it announced some big changes to its hybrid working policy. All 6,500+ of Spotify’s employees were given the freedom to work wherever they want — whether that’s home, HQ or a coworking space in another country.
This decision came after a series of employee feedback. The music streaming giant was keen to give employees the “perfect balance of flexibility, employment security and job fulfilment”.
“This is an opportunity to scrap the idea that big cities are the only places where meaningful work can happen because we know firsthand that isn’t true”, Travis Robinson, Spotify’s Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, told Insider.
The result? The streaming giant reported a 15% drop in attrition rates compared to 2019 and an improvement in diversity and inclusion across its offices.
Spotify’s flexible workplace policy has been such a success that we have yet to see any significant changes in 2023.
Across the pond, Starbucks announced that more than 4,000 office employees would be working from home until the end of 2021 — so that they can have time to repurpose their Seattle headquarters to facilitate flexible working.
According to a Starbucks spokesperson, their future headquarters will “maintain that heritage of connection”. And in true hybrid style, the new layout promoted remote-work technologies and enabled employees to reserve parking space, so they could “work for the day”, Johnson wrote.
But working from the office for “the day” is no longer the case. Starbucks is another major player introducing a stricter hybrid workplace policy.
The coffee giant’s CEO, Howard Schultz, released a memo stating that corporate employees would return to the office at least three days a week starting January 31st 2023.
The memo stated that employees travelling to Starbucks’ Seattle HQ must work from the office at least three days a week, including Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with team leads having permission to determine the third day.
Fast-forward to 2023, and dozens of Starbucks corporate employees signed a petition calling for the company to reverse its return-to-office hybrid work policy.
“An unforeseen and poorly planned ‘return to office’ mandate is making our lives more difficult, prioritizing corporate control over productivity, diversity & inclusion, and individual job satisfaction, effectively reducing our ability to positively impact store partner experience,” the letter reads.
Back in 2020, the social media giant announced that employees could work from home “forever” if they wanted to. This policy didn’t come as a surprise, as Twitter always had remote employees—even before the pandemic.
An article published on their blog in May 2020 stated: “Twitter was one of the first companies to go to a work-from-home model in the face of COVID-19, but we don’t anticipate being one of the first to return to offices.
When Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in late 2022 and subsequently fired half the company’s 7,500 employees, he quickly reversed the company’s flexible remote work strategy.
Musk ordered the remaining employees back into offices for 40 hours per week. “The road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed”, Musk wrote in a memo to Twitter employees. “We are also changing Twitter policy such that remote work is no longer allowed, unless you have a specific exception”.
This memo would be the first of many. In March 2023, Musk reportedly emailed employees in the middle of the night — 2:30 am, to be exact — to remind them that working from the office is ‘not optional’.
In April 2021, Uber confirmed they’d be moving towards a hybrid working model. In a blog post, Uber revealed how this decision came after receiving rounds of employee feedback that asked for more flexibility over how and where they work.
In response, Uber confirmed that they’d be giving their employees the choice to work from their preferred office location — instead of their previous plans to “limit” employees to their pre-pandemic office.
Uber announced they’d be allowing employees to choose from a list of dedicated team hubs and are required to spend at least 50% of their time there.
But in October 2022, Uber announced that Tuesdays and Thursdays would soon become ‘anchor days’, where all non-remote employees are expected to be in the office.
According to Uber’s blog post, this mandate addresses feedback that it has been challenging for employees to coordinate on what days to come into the office.
However, Uber has been eager to offer more flexibility to its staff. Not only can employees work from anywhere for up to four weeks per year, but they also have the capacity for some employees to be fully remote, depending on their role and location.
And so far, so good. As of 2023, Uber’s hybrid workplace policy has remained the same.
Another finance giant opting for a relaxed, hybrid approach is UBS — Switzerland’s biggest bank. At the beginning of July 2021, UPS offered their employees a blend of remote and office work to push for more flexibility.
“We are committed to offering our employees the flexibility for hybrid working where role, tasks and location allow,” UBS said. “Hybrid work options will be introduced on a country-by-country basis, with timing dependent on the local pandemic situation.”
In 2022, UBS announced they’d be offering even more workplace flexibility to their employees. In a blog post, UBS announced the launch of its Virtual Worker Framework, a new industry-leading approach to flexible working that will provide US employees in eligible roles with the opportunity to work 100% remotely.
We are yet to see any significant changes to UBS’ hybrid workplace policy in 2023.
Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, said: “We anticipate never going back to five days a week in the office”—but added that Unilever was still keen to return to offices in some capacity after seeing a “slow erosion of social capital”.
As a result, Unilever adopted a hybrid model, with employees alternating between working from home and in the office. “Return (to the office) is the wrong word — that world is gone,” Unilever’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Leena Nair, said in October 2021. “You’re going forward and adapting positively to a new world.”
And so far, so good! In 2023, Unilever detailed its approach to creating workspaces that facilitate the needs of all models in a blog post. Their hybrid workspaces have been designed for individuals and teams to provide a wide range of work points and environments catering to different working styles.
“The new offices are perfect for people like me who are hybrid workers and who therefore really value our time in the office as a way of connecting with colleagues, whether on a personal level or to collaborate on projects,” says Abdullah Farabi from the Bangladesh office.
At the beginning of 2021, Wise (formerly TransferWise) announced they’d be introducing a hybrid flexible working model. Kate Diver, the company’s Head of People Risk, Workplace and Expansions, outlined the strategy in a blog post, whereby employees can work from anywhere worldwide for 90 days per year.
Employees can also work from home up to three days per week after a survey found that over 50% of employees stated that the ‘ideal amount’ of time in the office was 2-3 days a week.
So, how is Wise’s hybrid workplace policy shaping up in 2023? Well, from an outsider looking in, it’s been a success!
On their careers page, Wise provides a detailed breakdown of their hybrid workplace policy — and it’s looking more flexible than before.
While new joiners will be expected to come into the office most days for their first six months, most Wisers split their working week between the office and home — noting how not every day, week, or month is the same and having flexibility is a crucial part of the experience.
Rather than focusing solely on the number of days employees work in the office or at home, Wise is focused on using the most appropriate place for a given activity.
In August 2021, Zoom made it very clear that they won’t be rushing their office reopenings — which seems quite fitting considering they’re a video conferencing platform.
Zoom operate on a hybrid approach, where they strategically blend remote and in-office work — the latter being just one component of their flexible, future workplace strategy.
“We’re going to really try to be whatever you need us to be as your employer,” Lynne Oldham, Chief People Officer, says. “Whether you want to stay remote, whether you want to be in the office one or two days a week or a month, or whether you want to be one of those 60 people in the office every day.”
Jumping ahead to 2023, Zoom, the engine behind the work-from-home surge during the pandemic, is now asking its employees to return to the office. In an announcement, Zoom expressed that it’s implementing a “structured hybrid model,” which implies that employees residing close to an office “must be present onsite for two days weekly” as this is “most efficient” for their video-conferencing operations.
Finally, there are the companies who have enjoyed the working from home experiment so much that they feel that remote working is not just a viable long-term policy, but the preferred one — and will be remote by default.
To clarify, being “remote-first” doesn’t necessarily mean that employees can’t work from an office, rather that default systems and processes will be geared around a distributed workforce.
Coinbase has made remote working a permanent arrangement for their employees. CEO Brian Armstrong told his employees in May 2020 that whilst the company will continue to offer office space for those who would like it following lockdown, the “future of Coinbase is remote-first” and that their working processes would now have to reflect that.
After a full year of remote working, Coinbase reflected on their journey and released some key learnings in a blog post. We have all experienced so much change during the pandemic that it’s certainly felt like “the hard part” of this transition”, writes Dominique Baillet.
“The next chapter, in which we fully inhabit our remote-first future — with some folks in the office five days a week, some a few days a week, and others never — is where the rubber meets the road, and where we can expect a whole new set of lessons to learn”.
No major updates as of 2023!
Deloitte is another accounting firm to allow all of its UK employees to work from home forever. In a bid to embrace flexible working permanently, Chief Executive Richard Houston confirmed that its whopping 20,000 staff would be able to choose when, where and how they work in the future.
This doesn’t come as a surprise — Deloitte has promoted flexible working in its policies since 2014, but less than half of its workforce worked from home regularly before the pandemic.
The auditing giant said the pandemic had accelerated its hybrid working model, as 96% of its employees wanted the freedom to choose how they worked in the future — a statistic you just can’t ignore.
Deloitte still operates on a remote-first strategy in 2023.
In October 2020, Dropbox announced that they had officially become a “Virtual First” company. This meant that working outside the office would be “the primary experience for all employees and the day-to-day default for individual work.”
They then planned to allow in-person collaboration and teamwork in their workspaces once it was deemed safe—and in July 2021, they did just that. Dropbox reopened many of its buildings on the 14th, and these spaces will serve many purposes: all-hands team meetings, community-building and collaboration, to name a few.
Employees won’t be able to use them for solo work, which has prompted Alastair Simpson, Dropbox’s VP of design and one of the leaders behind their back-to-work strategy, to call them “studios” instead of “offices”.
In 2022, Dropbox released a blog detailing what they’ve learnt during their first year of remote working — and it’s well worth the read!
In 2020, Shopify Inc. announced it would allow its 5,000 employees to work from home indefinitely and reduce their office capacity to 20-25%. Tobi Lutke, the CEO, told Bloomberg that “they will adopt a “digital by default” mindset and adjust to a remote work environment.”
“We expect that the majority of people will work from home and home offices in the future,” Lutke continued. “The choice is really, are we passengers on this tidal wave of change? Or do we jump in the driver’s seat and try to figure out how to build a global world-class company by not getting together that often.”
In 2022, Shopify cracked down on internal staff meetings in a company-wide policy. Employees will be obliged to have fewer meetings under the new policy, which was introduced to give the company’s staff back their “maker time”, Shopify COO Kaz Nejatian said on Twitter.
The company is telling workers to cancel all recurring meetings with more than two people and enforcing a rule that Wednesdays are to be entirely free of meetings.
No major updates as of 2023.
In June 2021, Slack announced they’d be transitioning to a remote-first workforce. But that’s not to say in-person interactions are out of the question. The instant-messaging platform says they’ll have face-to-face meetings—but primarily for team-building exercises and project kickoffs.
Since then, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has expressed more flexible views on the remote-first strategy. “We are remote-first, not remote-only”, Butterfield said. “There is real value for people getting together in person and building relationships”.
No major updates as of 2023.
Find a workspace solution that fits your business’ needs, whatever they are
Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the future of where we work. Whilst it can be helpful to draw from these examples, it’s important to remember that what works for one company won’t necessarily work for the next.
But rest assured, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
From opting for a smaller HQ to accessing a global network of on-demand workspace, each of their chosen hybrid solutions has been implemented successfully through Hubble.
But even if you’re an office-first or a remote-first company, Hubble can still help you configure a workplace strategy that suits your team: