If the past two years have taught companies large and small anything, it’s that rules that were once rigid have now become entirely flexible. Millions of people around the world found themselves making the switch to working from home almost overnight during the pandemic. This would have been inconceivable mere weeks before it happened. So, is the era of the traditional office coming to an end?
For many businesses, the solution isn’t so clear-cut. On the one hand, office space has already been rented out and paid for, so it’d be crazy not to use it. On the other hand, however, employees have had a taste of remote work and certainly don’t want it to go away. Being indecisive at this time can lead to uncertainty among your staff while being inflexible can cause top talent to leave altogether.
So what is the right answer for a large company? Should you bring everyone back to the office or allow work from home (WFA)? In this article, we’ll take a look at which companies allow remote work already and why it’s working for them.
More and More Companies Are Switching To Remote Work
Taking a look at the recent policies of some of the biggest corporations on earth suggests that there’s a definite increase in the number of companies that offer remote work. Companies that embrace work from home seem more likely to be more able to hold onto valuable team members who seemingly value flexibility above all else.
Top talent knows that they’re in demand and that they can work for any company around the world. But now, they also know that they don’t need to relocate to do so. So, instead of seeking the highest paycheck, they’re seeking the companies that embrace remote work and offer the best travel benefits.
Implementing remote work seems like a no-brainer, and it’s not as difficult as it used to be. Indeed, many businesses have had to do it already and there are already thousands of full-remote companies out there. Other companies implementing remote work prefer to use a hybrid policy, with office days mixed with work from home days.
There are several models to follow, so let’s take a deeper look at how some of the most well-known work from anywhere tech companies handle it.
The Big Bang: Airbnb Is Allowing Work From Anywhere
If you need proof of how highly employees value the ability to work from anywhere, Airbnb is a fantastic case study. In April this year, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky announced their new work from anywhere scheme. In a nutshell, the following five points detail the new policy:
- You can work from home or the office
- You can move anywhere in the country you work in and your compensation won’t change
- You have the flexibility to travel and work around the world
- We’ll meet up regularly for gatherings
- We’ll continue to work in a highly coordinated way
Going all in like this is a bold move from Airbnb. However, few companies are better able to judge which way the winds are blowing when it comes to the future of remote working. The pandemic sent shockwaves through many industries, but none were hit as hard as hospitality and travel. Despite this, Airbnb saw the most productive two-year period in its history.
Chesky himself noted that their speedy recovery was the result of millions of people around the world choosing to work remotely from Airbnbs. The second half of 2021 saw a huge upsurge in long-term bookings, with 20% of all bookings being for more than a month, and more than half for over a week. Remote work was already evolving. Now that people knew they could work from home, why not work from anywhere on earth?
Airbnb recognizes that the mentality of employees changed drastically during the pandemic. Witnessing the changes first-hand, they were able to adapt and create a work from anywhere policy that gives a lot of flexibility to their workforce. Since the announcement, there has been a surge in visits to their career site, a strong indicator that work from anywhere companies are a hot choice for employees.
But it’s not only the employees who have benefitted. By adopting a flexible work from anywhere policy, Airbnb has been able to hire and hold onto top talent from around the world. As a result, they boast a culturally diverse workforce, drawing on the expertise, experience, and beliefs of people across the globe.
GAFA Is Also Adapting To Remote Work
Airbnb isn’t alone in adapting to remote work though. Indeed, the big four tech companies; Google, Amazon, Facebook (Meta), and Apple, have all recently announced plans to incorporate flexible, work from anywhere policies.
Google: Hybrid Schedules and a WFA Allowance
In May 2021, Google announced a series of new measures to enable workers to ease back into normalcy after the pandemic. Rather than attempting to return to the old normal, however, they have aimed to create a new, more flexible normal. They’ve opted for a largely hybrid model, wherein around 60% of employees will work three days a week in the office on collaborative tasks, and two at home.
A further 20% are expected to go fully remote, and the remaining 20% would spend more time in the office as is required of their roles. In addition to remote work, Google employees are entitled to up to four weeks a year of work from anywhere allowance. These changes offer employees more flexibility without sacrificing the collaborative spirit needed to drive the company forward.
Amazon: A Team Orientated Hybrid Model
Amazon’s new policy was announced in October 2021 and adapted previous plans to allow workers to come into the office three days a week and work from home for two. The decision as to how frequently employees are required to go into the office is now decided on a team level.
For some teams, this might mean that members can work fully remotely, whereas others may need to spend more time in the office. For most, the previous three-day office and two-day home hybrid model is likely to work. But, by offering flexibility team leaders can decide the best approach without being hampered by rigid guidelines.
In addition to allowing remote work with Amazon, many corporate employees are also offered an up to four weeks per year work from anywhere package. Well, not quite anywhere, but anywhere within the country of their employment.
Meta/Facebook: Expansion Fueled by Remote Work
In a bid to tap into a wider talent pool and embrace work from anywhere, Facebook’s parent company Meta claims to be the ‘most forward-leaning company on remote work at [their] scale’. Remote roles in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are now available, with a promise of more to come.
The company’s expansion into Europe, in particular, has been fuelled by remote work as it taps into new talent across the continent. Employees across several EU countries, plus the UK, are now able to work from home. Plus, in eligible roles, employees will now find it easier to change their location if desired. For example, workers in the UK who want to relocate to Spain need not fear that they’ll lose their job.
Apple: Hybrid Office Return Plus WFA Benefit
Remote work with Apple is a slightly different matter. Like other large companies, they’ve opted for a hybrid model that allows employees to continue to work from home two days a week if they want to. The remaining three days would be spent in the office.
However, they’ve gone for a rather rigid model, with all employees across the company required to be in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. This lack of flexibility may cause tension and according to some specialists, could lead employees to quit.
In terms of work from anywhere, Apple also seems to be lagging behind some of its competitors. With just a two-week WFA benefit, it’s half the length of the options offered by Amazon, for example.
Some Companies Even Buy Company Homes for Remote Work and Company Retreats
So far we’ve looked at some pretty good examples of large ‘work from anywhere’ companies. But some businesses take things a step further. Rather than simply allowing employees to work remotely, these encourage it by providing company homes and retreats to relax and work in.
Salesforce is at the forefront of this movement, having invested in their ‘Trailblazer Ranch’ in Scotts Valley, CA. At the ranch, Salesforce employees can get out of the home and the office into a whole new, more tranquil environment. Here, they’re able to indulge in nature walks, masterclasses, art, sports, and much more in order to freshen up the mind and get the creative juices flowing. In addition to a generous WFA policy that sees two-thirds of workers in the office as little as once a week, this is a superb way to keep valuable employees happy.
But companies don’t necessarily have to buy properties for their remote workers. By partnering with JIA, businesses gain access to high-quality smart homes for remote work all around the world.
There’s no doubt about it, remote working is here to stay. Many of the world’s largest companies are already embracing the change and for a talented workforce, going back to the 9–5, five days a week, simply isn’t an option anymore.
Employers need to accept that this change is happening and adapt to a more flexible working environment if they want to keep valued team members. Smaller companies have been able to adapt faster and adopt better WFA policies, but if larger companies want to keep up, the time for change is now.
At JIA, we can work with you to create a work from anywhere benefits program that meets your needs and those of your employees. For more information, feel free to get in touch today.