Red Hat Doubles Down on Flexible Work Policy for Technologists

Even as numerous tech companies figure out how to get employees back to the office, Red Hat is doubling down on flexible work.

Red Hat, which is now an IBM subsidiary focused on open-source enterprise software, has always embraced a flexible-work culture. According to a corporate blog posting, roughly a third of the company’s employees worked remotely full-time before the pandemic hit. “Flexibility has always been key to our culture,” that posting stated. “Red Hat came out of the open source software movement, where a community of developers worked remotely and asynchronously.”

Now, Red Hat will allow employees to make their own decisions about in-office or remote work. “While some of our tech peers are pulling employees back to the office, we don’t think our workforce needs to be in an office to be successful—we’ve seen the value in providing flexibility,” the posting added. “The benefits of expanding flexibility also don’t just accrue to associates–our approach allows us to unlock a wider talent pool and create a lasting employer-value proposition.”

Red Hat offers its workers an at-home stipend to defray the cost of remote work, plus quarterly “recharge” days where the entire workforce has a paid day off. On an organizational level, there’s also an “Open Decision Hub” designed to make management’s decisions more transparent—which is important when remote employees aren’t present for in-person gatherings where the logic behind decisions is often shared.

Big tech companies like Google and Apple have been trying to figure out how to get employees back to the office for a few days per week—and many employees have pushed back, arguing that they’re very capable of doing their jobs from home full-time. Executives at these companies argue that bringing everyone back to the office will encourage camaraderie, mentorship, and collaboration—which is certainly true, although technologists have made it clear they prize workplace flexibility over pretty much every other benefit.  

It’s also important to keep in mind that many employees like coming into the office at least a few days per week. In Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, 85 percent of technologists indicated that hybrid work was anywhere from somewhat to extremely desirable in an employer (with younger technologists, that number rose to 94 percent). Other companies might not offer the same amenities as Red Hat, but it’s clear that some degree of flexibility is key to technologists’ morale and retention.