Some companies in the US have decided to completely and permanently go remote
Many companies have attempted to reopen their offices but have been halted by new coronavirus strains or outbreaks that have required another closure. Therefore, some enterprises have decided to completely abandon offices and switch to remote work forever. Writes about it CNN.
Empowering Employees to Make a Difference in Their Lives
When David Kansel founded software sales and marketing company Drift in 2015, he and his co-founder were firm believers in a culture of working with personal presence.
“We have been very strict in this regard. Nobody worked remotely. Everyone was in the office five days a week. All of our rituals were done in person, such as meetings, openings, events,” said Kansel, who is the CEO.
But when the COVID-2020 pandemic hit in March 19, offices across the country, including Drift's Boston headquarters and three satellite offices, closed and work became completely remote.
“It was a huge panic,” Kansel said. “It's not that we didn't support working from home, we were against it. We didn't have any rituals or practice of working remotely."
At first, adjusting the company culture to the remote model was not easy.
“The hardest part of this transition for me was that I can't hire the best people without meeting them in person. But I was forced to do it when the pandemic started, and one day I saw how it happened, and I saw how these people are integrating and working productively,” Kansel said.
In early 2021, the company announced that employees would begin working remotely full-time, with office space used as "social spaces" for meetings, collaboration and events.
The change in direction of remote work has benefited both Cancel and his staff. This allowed him, for example, to return to New York, and his employees were also able to take important steps in life.
“We saw a lot of benefits for the team: people moved to cheaper places, closer to their families, and thanks to these moves, they were able to get married earlier or make other life choices that they had been putting off for a long time,” he explained.
The company has decided that there will be no pay adjustments for employees moving to lower cost cities.
“When it comes to payment, we are location independent,” Kansel said.
In addition, hybrid work, where workers spend several days at the office and some at home, was also not considered.
“By nature, we have a bias towards people who are around, whether we can detect it or not,” Kansel said. “People who were in the office with managers got a disproportionate advantage for promotions and opportunities. I wanted to make sure we were fair. So that no matter where you are, you are given an equal opportunity for everything in the company.
Creating a more diverse workforce
Davis Smith, CEO of outdoor apparel and equipment company Cotopaxi, was also strongly opposed to remote work before the pandemic.
But less than two months after employees began working from home in March 2020, he has changed his mind.
“We began to understand that remote work brings results. Our teams are working more efficiently than ever before,” he said.
The decision to go fully remote means that Smith doesn't have to worry about the constant decision making around opening or closing offices.
“It seems so distracting and now we are just focused on building a business and a high culture. We don’t worry about having to make all these decisions,” the executive explained.
The company has kept its office in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Smith said some employees prefer to go there every day.
The company has tripled in size during the pandemic, and being completely remote has allowed it to build a more diverse team.
"It's much easier to hire a diverse team when you're not limited to certain locations," Smith said.
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Despite the success, Smith said he still worries about the potential long-term implications of the remote work model.
“I have asked myself many times: at what point does this overtake us? Because there are so many new people and maybe they don't understand the company culture so deeply. But our culture has changed, and all these rituals and traditions had to be erased and started anew. Now we have created new ones that are suitable for this new environment,” he explained.
The company sends out a weekly survey to employees via Slack asking questions such as engagement, culture, and other topics, including burnout, to help keep abreast of employee sentiment and morale.
Prior to the pandemic, most of the employees at the online brokerage firm Robinhood were expected to be in the office every day.
But in December, the company told employees it would go largely remote, meaning there would be no space or regular office requirements for most employees. But offices, including the headquarters in Menlo Park, California, will remain open.
The transition to remote work during the pandemic has had a noticeable impact, said Cindy Oweng, vice president at Robinhood.
“Over time it became more and more evident that our employees were happy and did their best work when they had the opportunity to determine where and when they work,” Oveng concluded.
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