There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the future of where we work. The pandemic 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 very different post-pandemic workplace strategies. For some, the WFH experience has been so positive that they’ve now chosen to go fully remote. Others stand firm in their belief that going back to the office is the best option—and some have even done a U-turn. And of course, many companies are now opting 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 25+ 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.
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, has always been keen to get his 60,000 employees back to their desks ASAP. In a Bloomberg Television interview, he stated, “I certainly would expect a lot of Goldman Sachs employees back in full by the end of the year.”
Back then, Goldman Sachs had no plans to mandate vaccinations. But since September 2021, the investment bank said that all US employees, clients, and visitors would need to be fully jabbed to access any of its buildings.
Here in London, Goldman Sachs International chief executive, Richard Gnodde, took a different approach. In July 2021, Gnodde confirmed that workers returning to their London offices would not need to show proof of vaccination, but they’ll be required to wear masks inside the building—despite government restrictions easing in June.
In response to the Omicron variant, Goldman Sachs trod with caution. They encouraged employees to work from home while monitoring the virus’ ongoing spread. However, Solomon still firmly believed that in-person interaction is integral to the “eco-system of the firm”.
And in March 2022, this came into effect. 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.
The result? Only half of Goldman’s 10,000 HQ workers had shown up to work in person, despite having had over two weeks’ notice.
Arguably the most outspoken business leader around remote working, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, apparently doesn’t “see any positives” to working from home. In an interview with the WSJ, he stated: “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”
Whilst Hastings is keen to get his team back into the office; he’s still waiting until it’s safe to do so—jokingly stating that his employees will return ‘within 12-hours after a vaccine is approved’ last September.
While office workers aren’t currently required to show proof of vaccination, Netflix’s cast and crew will need to be fully jabbed in order to work at their studios. As for office workers, an official date still has not been set for a full return to the offices due to the Omicron variant.
This is still the case after months of Omicron being the dominant variant of COVID-19. We haven’t been able to find an official return to office date thus far.
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 giving all employees the freedom to choose where they want to work, whenever they want to work there.
Others choose 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.
And so far, so good. As of March 2022, 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 in a blog post—citing separation anxiety from pets, family life and home comforts as leading factors.
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 US would 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.
Last April, 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. They initially decided to opt for a hybrid scheme that allows their 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 will 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, but was soon extended to January 2022. As of October 2021, Amazon has ditched this plan altogether. Now, it’s 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.
Amazon still operating a flexible workplace policy for its office workers, with individual directors and team leads making the decisions based on their team’s current situation and needs.
Last year, 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 sees 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 has denied that 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 to October. But as the objections continued, Apple has once again delayed its plans to return to the office to early 2022.
And it doesn’t stop there. Once the wave of Omicron hit, Apple postponed its corporate return-to-office deadline to a “date yet to be determined”. But after months of waiting, Apple has finally stated the 3-day return will commence in September 2022.
But the plan has changed; it’s now 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. But despite the increased flexibility, Apple employees are still pushing back on the order.
Apple workers launched 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”.
Asda is yet another company to opt for the hybrid approach. Once restrictions eased, the supermarket group said they’ll allow 4,000 employees based in their 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.
The Bank of England has operated on a hybrid workplace strategy since July 19 2021—with one day in the office and the rest at home. The bank’s Chief Operating Officer, 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.
Canva has announced they’ll commit a flexible work model for its employees long-term. The company has said they’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 8 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.
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 will be company-wide remote workdays where employees can choose where they work best. On the remaining days, Capital One’s offices will be open 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 encourages employees to return to offices from Tuesday to Thursday to “spend meaningful time in collaboration with colleagues”.
At the start of the pandemic, Citigroup Inc made it clear that they 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. Staff can work remotely for up to two days per week starting from September 2021. 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 after an easing of restrictions.
But in response to rising cases of the Omicron variant, Citigroup told staff at its New York offices that they should work from home if they can. Here in the UK, Citi also encouraged London staff to stay at home to prevent the spread.
But as the months rolled on, Citigroup changed its tune. 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.
Here in the UK, things are looking pretty similar. Citi has also asked for its bankers in London to return to their desks for at least 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,” James Bardrick said in a company-wide email.
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 of US workers back to their NYC offices. However, they’re still stressing that the returning employees will 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 as of 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.
After collaborating with leaders and employees alike, DoorDash has announced they’ll 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.
But in light of Omicron, DoorDash announced they’ll be taking a “wait and see” approach to their 2022 plans. Chris Cherry, DoorDash’s director of global safety and security, said in a statement: “This is a dynamic situation that we’ll continue to evaluate, making educated decisions based on the most up to date guidance and information we receive”.
But as infection rates fall across the US, DoorDash has reinforced its commitment to flexible working. Their flexible workplace model will continue to allow teams to decide how they want to balance in-person with remote work.
Walt Disney Co. is cautiously reopening its U.S. offices after July 4th, where only a fraction of its employees will initially return—and the rest by October 2021.
The staggered start is partially due to vaccine rollouts. “Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” a spokesperson for Disney said in a statement.
Therefore, Disney’s office locations will be open three days per week, with employees having the flexibility to work remotely for the remaining two days.
What’s more, employees from Disney’s TV and film divisions will be receiving additional paid leave so they can “recharge” after working tirelessly to keep the company afloat during the two years of remote working.
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. This level of flexibility has allowed easier adjustment to Covid variants and cases.
In November 2021, Ericsson announced they’ll be cutting desk space by 40% to create more social and coworking areas. In a clear push for hybrid working, the telecommunications giant said they’re expecting half of its 102,000 workforce to continue working remotely.
But Peter Laurin, Head of Managed Services at Ericsson, is very clear that the current plan is 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. What is certain is that the company won’t go back “ever” to the set up of the past”. Ericsson’s hybrid vision is internally seen as an experiment, and the company is set to redesign all of its 400 offices globally over the next five years.
Accountancy firm EY has told 17,000 of its staff that they expect them to work from home for at least two days per week—even after pandemic restrictions ease.
In a video call, the company informed employees that they’d be moving to a “hybrid working model” of both home and office work—as well as visits to clients—from July 19th 2021.
In the UK, EY employees are able to work from an EY office, client site or remotely from home. This approach continues a long-standing culture of flexible working, which had been in place for many years prior to the pandemic.
EY believes a hybrid model maximises the benefits of both in-person collaboration and flexible remote working. While offices are no longer expected to be the default location for all work, EY also recognises the importance of in-person working for collaboration, relationship building, training and wellbeing.
In 2020, Google opted for a more uniform and structured implementation of hybrid working. Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that he wants to introduce more flexibility into the company’s working practices, but informed employees that they’ll still be expected to work in the office at least three times a week—meaning they’ll still be required to live near their office.
For a while, the initial return period was voluntary as their offices operated on a limited capacity. But in August 2021, Google said that US employees who opted for permanent remote working might get a pay cut.
This announcement caused a widespread backlash, despite no plans to implement a similar policy in other countries. In a bid to lure more workers back into offices, Google is forking out a whopping $2.1bn for a new “biophilic” office complex in Manhattan—according to the Financial Times.
But in response to Omicron, Google delayed its return-to-office yet again. But unlike previous announcements, the company did not set a new return date and says it will wait until the new year to assess when U.S. offices can fully reopen.
So, what’s Google’s latest plan to bring workers back into its offices? According to the Wall Street Journal, Google told its employees in the San Francisco Bay Area and several other US locations that they will begin to return to workplaces from 4 April 2022.
As stated previously, most employees will spend roughly 3 days in the office. However, workers can choose to come into the office more than that if they’d like. They could also be required to work in the office more often if their managers feel it’s necessary.
However, Google employees have expressed frustration after experiencing a series of office Covid-19 outbreaks. The regular notifications are causing some to question the company’s return-to-office mandates.
Grammarly is opting 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 COVD-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.
In the Ukraine, these team members will either have to be fully vaccinated or produce daily negative tests when working onsite. For all Grammarly team members, they’ll need to be fully-vaccinated in order to meet up with teams.
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—will be done in a hybrid way. While employees can 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.
Over in Hong Kong, HSBC has allowed 30% of their employees to work in their offices. However, rules were still pretty strict. Staff were required to wear face masks in all areas of premises and submit a voluntary negative rapid antigen test before coming into the office.
In the UK, HSBC took the same precautions. While they announced in January 2022 that they’d be freeing up more desk space in their offices, they also took a strong stance on lateral flow tests and masks. Staff must perform a lateral flow test twice a week and wear masks in shared locations, such as hallways and lifts.
Fast-forward to September 2022, and their office plans have taken an interesting turn. The bank is 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.
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 will 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 back 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.
As Omicron cases surge worldwide, J.P. Morgan has had to delay their return-to-office plans. In January 2022, employees were told to work from home as they monitored the situation.
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 account giant gave their staff an extra 2.5 hours off each week to avoid burnout during summer.
But this level of flexibility didn’t last long. In the November, KPMG’s Head of Audit Catherine Burnet told staff they’ll 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”.
In response to rising cases of Omicron, the accounting giant has had to put the brakes on this plan. They’ve told staff to work from home, unless they have a “business-critical or exceptional wellbeing reason to be in the office”
Lyft is yet another business giant to postpone their employees’ return to the office. Back in December 2021, the ride-hailing company pushed for a 6-month extension to provide a “buffer of several weeks”, so that their teams could safely settle into their assigned offices after the winter break.
From there, Lyft planned to have most of its workforce back in offices by February 2022. But of course, Omicron has gotten in the way. The official return-to-office date has been delayed until 2023.
While Lyft did not cite Omicron as the reasoning behind the dramatic step, they did say that giving employees the flexibility they desired was a contributing factor.
Meta’s (formerly known as Facebook) 50,000+ employees have been working remotely since March 2020. The following May, CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed he could see half of Facebook’s employees permanently working remotely within the next 5-10 years.
And soon after, this started to come into effect. In a bid to double down on flexibility, Facebook 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.
For employees whose work requires them to be in an office or those who are waiting for remote-work approval, Facebook suggested they be in an office at least 50% of the time, and they would also be able to enjoy a hybrid offering for the foreseeable future.
But as new variants run rampant, Meta has had to delay their hybrid plans. “Data, not dates, is what drives our approach for returning to the office,” the social media giant said in a statement. As it stands, their US offices will remain closed until March 2022.
Microsoft has told employees that they can work from home part-time on a permanent basis without formal approval from their managers.
The company will cover 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, whereby he wrote that “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”.
As for an official return date, the tech giant has given up on predicting this. Instead, they’re continuing to make their choices based on data, not dogma.
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.
However, Gorman recognised that some employees might not be able to get vaccinated, so the bank will continue to consider employees’ returns on a case-by-case basis. He was also quick to note that the company would not be “dictatorial” towards employees who can’t always work in the office—stating that many working parents will need to work from home when their children are not in schools or summer camps.
In December 2021, James Gorman made headlines again when he retracted his previous statements about employees returning by Labor Day. “I was wrong on this”, he told CNBC. “I think we’ll still be in it through most of next year,” Gorman said.
Nationwide has 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.
Thirteen thousand of the UK’s biggest building society’s staff can work where they want—even once restrictions ease. This initiative, Work Anywhere, came after 57% of their employees said they’d like to work from home full time. 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.”
Natwest has 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. 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.”
Ocado Group, the tech firm behind the online grocer, are now allowing 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 up their leave to simply visit them. The scheme does not apply to Ocado Retail, the online supermarket, which is jointly owned by Ocado Group and Marks & Spencer.
Just 6-months into the pandemic, Reddit announced that it’d switch to a hybrid workplace model permanently. 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.
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 is also allowing employees to work abroad for up to 60 days per year, dependent on travel restrictions and guidance from health authorities.
Salesforce told employees that they can continue working from home until December 31, 2021—and as soon as it hits 2022, most employees will 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”, says Brent Hyder, the company’s Chief People Officer.
In terms of rising cases of Covid-19, it is unclear of whether these plans have come into effect.
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 results? The streaming giant has reported a 15% drop in attrition rates compared to 2019 and an improvement in diversity and inclusion across its offices.
Across the pond, Starbucks planned to end its work-from-policy and bring employees back into offices by January 2021. However, it appears the multinational chain of coffee houses has made a U-turn.
Starbucks’ CEO, Kevin Johnson, 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 will promote remote-work technologies and enable employees to reserve parking space, so you can “work for the day”, Johnson wrote.
The social media giant has announced that employees can work from home “forever” if they want to. This policy doesn’t come as a surprise, as Twitter always had remote employees—even before the pandemic.
In an article published on their own blog back in May 2020, they 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.
However, Twitter did reopen its New York and San Fransisco offices in November 2021, but they swiftly closed again due to rising cases of Covid-19.
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 employees will choose from a list of dedicated team hubs and are required to spend at least 50% of their time there. Initially, this was set at a minimum of 3 days per week, but the flexible alternative allows employees to choose their schedule.
In response to Omicron, Uber joined the likes of Google in delaying its US return date, not to a specific day, but “indefinitely”. But this was quick to change. Uber has announced that April 25th 2022 would be its official return-to-office date for 35 locations, including its HQ in San Francisco.
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.”
Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, has 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 such, Unilever will adopt 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.”
It seems that the floodgates really are now open for new methods of flexible working for the consumer goods giant—as Unilever are also trialling a four-day workweek for their New Zealand employees, with a view to rolling it out for their 155,000-strong workforce if the experiment proves successful.
At the beginning of 2021, Wise (formerly TransferWise) announced they’ll be introducing a hybrid model of flexible working. 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 in the world 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.
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.
Kelly Steckelberg, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, wrote a blog post that they don’t plan to open any offices until they can do so without social distancing measures or personal protective equipment.
In the meantime, they’re preparing a hybrid approach, where they’ll 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.”
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.
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 that you just can’t ignore.
In October 2020, Dropbox announced that they had officially become a “Virtual First” company. This meant that working outside of 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”.
Shopify Inc. has announced that it will allow its 5,000 employees to work from home indefinitely, and reduce their office capacity to 20-25%. Tobi Lutke, 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 June 2021, Slack announced they’ll 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.
And since Slack is designed to enable remote communication and collaboration, their back-to-work strategy is nothing but fitting.
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: