In late August, Salesforce, a leading cloud-based, software-as-a-service company, announced that its employees may work from home until at least July 31.
Brent Hyder, Salesforce president and chief people officer, wrote in a blog post at the time empathetically explaining the company’s decision, “We understand that moving our offices to our homes is not always easy or comfortable—especially for those with families at home or for those who are feeling isolated—and we’re working hard to address the unique needs of our employees during this time.” Hyder also added, “To ensure that our employees have what they need to continue working from home, we are offering $250 for office tools and equipment—in addition to the $250 provided earlier in the year.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Salesforce announced on Tuesday that its employees may work “remotely part or full time after the pandemic” and the company will scale back its “real-estate footprint as a result.” The Wall Street Journal added, “Salesforce expects more than 65% of its workforce to come into the office only one to three days a week in the future, up from 40% before the pandemic.”
In a company blog post, Hyder wrote, “As we enter a new year, we must continue to go forward with agility, creativity and a beginner’s mind—and that includes how we cultivate our culture. An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead.”
Based upon employee feedback, Salesforce said it will enact the following policies and offer employees “flexibility in how, when and where they work with three ways of working”:
- Flex: When it’s safe to return to the office, employees around the globe will work flex. This means they’ll be in the office one to three days per week for team collaboration, customer meetings and presentations.
- Fully Remote: For employees who don’t live near an office or have roles that don’t require an office, they will work remotely full-time.
- Office-based: The smallest population of the workforce will work from an office location four to five days per week if they’re in roles that require it.
This move is similar to the recent actions undertaken by Amazon and other progressive tech companies. The giant online retailer recently announced it’s starting to build a second headquarters in Northern Virginia, which would offer a wide array of accommodations for people when they return to the office. The project is a massive $2.5 billion mixed-use office and retail complex, which could house about 25,000 employees and include three 22-story office and retail buildings. An outdoors theme will include woodlands, an amphitheater, walking paths, extensive bike parking and a dog run.
To hedge its bets, Amazon is anticipating that there will be people who want to come into the office on an occasional basis. Designs are being made to accommodate space where workers can collaborate with each other. Inside the office, there will be greenery and amenities, such as an artist residency program.
Facebook, in a move that challenged the current trend of companies embracing employees working from home, purchased the beautiful, new and unused 400,000-square-foot corporate campus headquarters from outdoor lifestyle retailer REI. The spectacular complex offers a design and functionality incorporating the environment and nature with an office space consistent with its outdoor lifestyle brand. It has outdoor staircases, a bridge, courtyard and skylights for workers to see the wide-open sky.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced in September that it’s proposing constructing a massive company-town project in Mountain View, Calif. The tech behemoth will build a combination of houses, retail stores, parks and recreations and a corporate campus spanning 40 acres. Google’s vision, deemed the “Middlefield Park Master Plan,” is an updated version of the company town and offers roughly 1.33 million square feet of office space, along with residential housing, open-air recreational space, commercial buildings, retail shopping and a host of other amenities. The search-engine company will hold ownership of the campus.
These decisions made by top tech companies show the new direction of corporate America—post pandemic. It reveals that businesses are spending large amounts of money on building or acquiring real estate, in the belief that the new working style will include a hybrid combination of being both in an office for a few days a week and remotely the rest of the time.