Tech Companies’ Post-COVID Office Plans are Flexible

As COVID-19 vaccines roll out and people figure out how to return to some version of “normalcy,” companies everywhere are determining how their offices will look (and their teams operate) in the coming months and years. Some companies have decided to embrace full-time remote work for all employees, while others are anxious to have everyone back in the physical office as soon as possible.

What are some of the biggest companies in tech doing? According to Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists about a variety of issues, many businesses seem to have chosen a hybridized schedule—meaning that employees only need to head into the office a few days per week. Smaller percentages of technologists have been told they can work from home full-time, or that they need to commute to their old offices five days a week. Here’s the complete chart:

Some companies have also given their employees a choice. For example, Salesforce workers can opt for a flexible schedule (i.e., in the office 1-3 days per week), full-time remote, or fully office-based. “Employee feedback has guided our re-opening strategy and how we’ll work going forward,” Salesforce wrote in a lengthy corporate blog posting about its decision. “We learned that nearly half of our employees want to come in only a few times per month, but also that 80 percent of employees want to maintain a connection to a physical space.” 

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other companies have announced similar policies over the past several months. But now that many employees have an actual date for going back to the office, there’s an increasing amount of discussion over the details. Will offices need to be rebuilt for better circulation? Will “flexible” employees have a permanent desk, or share a “hot desk” with other people who only come into the office a few days a week?

One of the biggest potential issues is paychecks. Facebook and some other companies have announced their intention to cut the pay of any employee who decides to move to an area with a lower cost of living. If you’re working at a big tech headquarters in Silicon Valley, for example, and you decide to move to Salt Lake City, these companies might slice your take-home pay by 10 or 20 percent.

Technologists, almost needless to say, aren’t very happy about that idea. Throughout Dice’s COVID-19 Sentiment Surveylast summer, technologists said repeatedly that they were opposed to taking any kind of pay cut in exchange for remote work—especially since the majority have already been doing so for months. Around 76 percent said they wouldn’t take any kind of cut in exchange for remote work. 

Those companies that force employees to take a pay cut, of course, could put themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to retention, especially since an employee who can work from anywhere can also search for a new job from anywhere. As we move forward, and companies make final decisions about how their future offices will operate, expect recruiters and hiring managers to position hybridized or remote work as a significant benefit—especially if it doesn’t come with a reduction in total pay. 

One Response to “Tech Companies’ Post-COVID Office Plans are Flexible”

  1. Dear full-time employees – welcome to the rest of the world. The average employee at a FAANG high tech company is a contractor, who is constantly terminated and replaced, and receives less income and few, if any, benefits. Those who contract through agencies with long-term commitments with the client – rarely, if ever, see a raise, a promotion, or any increase in benefits, if any such opportunities were available in the first place.