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InfoQ Homepage News Remote Working for Tech Workers is Here to Stay

Remote Working for Tech Workers is Here to Stay

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Remote working is here to stay for tech workers, irrespective of what happens with COVID-19.  Many tech companies are changing their long term planning and hiring practices to allow for remote working in the future, and benefits packages are being reworked to provide support for parents with child care and home schooling pressures.  

Microsoft is allowing more of their people to work from home permantly, as is Facebook (with the consideration that if people relocate to less expensive cities they could face reductions in pay), Amazon and Salesforce are offering new benefits packages to support remote workers and other tech companies are following suite.  

Microsoft chief people officer, Kathleen Hogan, posted on the Microsoft Blog about ways they are embracing a flexible workplace.  She refers to guidance they have provided covering three specific areas:

  • Work site (the physical space where you work, e.g. office, center, home, mobile)
  • Work hours (the hours and days when employees work, e.g. workday start and end times, full- or part-time)
  • Work location (the geographic location where you work, e.g. city and country)

She says that:

The pandemic has raised questions about what our employees can expect in the future, so we provided some guidance this week to employees on our thinking about work flexibility. Moving forward, it is our goal to offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture.

The Verge reports that they have seen the Microsoft advice and they say that:

Microsoft will now allow employees to work from home freely for less than 50 percent of their working week, or for managers to approve permanent remote work. Employees who opt for the permanent remote work option will give up their assigned office space, but still have options to use touchdown space available at Microsoft’s office.

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield says that tech companies can’t bring employees back to the office even if they want to.  In a FastCompany Innovation Festival event he said:

If we say that everyone must return to the office, or we expect people to, and one of our competitors says you can work remotely, who wouldn’t take the second option there? There’s a market force at play. So I don’t know that individual companies are going to be able to opt out and say, ‘Our employees have to come into the office.'

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is keeping people working remotely until Summer 2021. 

Along with remote working, companies are offering benefits aimed at supporting people in the remote environment.  Business Insider reports that companies are changing policies and benefits packages in a variety of ways:

  • Salary reductions for people relocating to less expensive cities
  • Direct payments to set up home offices (Facebook paid employees $2000 to set up their home offices)
  • Backup childcare payments for parents (up to 10 days per month for Amazon and Whole Foods  employees)
  • Additional paid leave for parents (Salesforce is giving parents up to six weeks of family care leave) 

  

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