Twitter went agog a couple of weeks back when Elon Musk announced that his employees should come back to the office. In his exact words:
“Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week. Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo-office. If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”
More interesting is the fact that about a month ago, another popular company, Airbnb, announced a fully-remote work globally. In the words of the CEO, Brian Chesky, employees can “work from home or the office–whatever works best for you.”
Beyond that, they are also carrying out a pay-equalization process across the globe. This means that you would be paid per your position, and not your location, no matter which part of the world you are in. Fascinating, right?
With two major companies sharing different perspectives and policies, what drives these kinds of decisions, what are the repercussion of such decisions and which kind of organizations can make related decisions?
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Below are a few factors that could affect making a work-environment decision.
1. The type of industry: The kind of industry a company plies a trade might affect decisions around coming to the office, working from home, or having a mix of both.
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For instance, organizations in manufacturing, construction and other “on-site” related jobs would likely embrace a “come to work”, not just because their day-to-day operations require physical relations and interactions, but also because their clients, as well as the results of their efforts, have to be physical.
For instance, during COVID, a lot of organizations couldn’t take a lot off their field and sites despite the health risk, they instead offered health insurance, life insurance and other forms of protection. These kinds of organizations would probably not explore remote options because of how intense their deliverables are.
2. The kind of roles/functions: Different companies have different roles and functions that ensure jobs get done. From the front desk officer to the IT person and the HR, different functions are pivotal and make different contributions to the success of an organization. This could also involve an organization’s reception to work from home/in real-life policy.
For instance, an organization where most employees can get their work done with little or next to nothing physical interaction might be able to afford employees working remotely or sustain a hybrid culture, however, if the coin is flipped, this decision might not be sustainable. Thus, the extent to which a hybrid or remote model in a company might be permissible could be largely dependent on the component of the organization’s role and government. For instance, can you imagine a fully-remote litigation law firm?
3. Collaboration, Communication and Technological infrastructure: It is 2022 and most organizations are technology first when it comes to collaboration and communication. Even for organizations that were traditional in approach, COVID had provided the opportunity for companies to try out virtual communication and collaboration. How successful the implementation of these policies was, would also determine what direction the companies might decide to move.
4. Business Direction: The direction a business is going might also determine the kind of work style that is embraced in the organization. Most digital-first companies are going remote or staying hybrid. Also, global organizations embracing globalization might tilt towards embracing a fully remote policy. A good example is Airbnb.
There might be a lot of other reasons why companies or organizations decide to choose remote or hybrid work patterns; from wanting to save rental costs to wanting to expand to other climes, and test out new waters, whatever reason it is, it is quite paramount that provisions are made for effective collaboration, communication and other infrastructures that make remote and hybrid work sustainable.
There have been different debates about the sustainability of remote work, the need for physical relationships and the flipside, which is the fact that the future is digital. I do not think any school of thought is right or wrong.
What mode of work is presently obtainable at your workplace? What has your organization put in place to make work easier? Please share below.