The future of work in Puget Sound
The pandemic transformed the way we work overnight. We said goodbye to hard pants and hello to a shorter commute. While the pandemic is not over and the Delta variant is picking up steam, for those who’ve been vaccinated (make vaccine appointment today) a return to a new normal is approaching.
Hybrid work seems to be the winner of the day, with a mixture of remote days for productivity and in-office days packed with in-person collaborations. Some companies have gone all-in on remote work, embracing the opportunity while others long for the days of watercooler chats and whiteboarding. Either way, the news is moving fast and we’ve compiled resources for how tech and beyond here in Seattle are adapting to these changing times.
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Earlier this year, we conducted a survey of Puget Sound Tech workers to ensure we are building stronger collaboration between tech and community. Our survey showed that 8 in 10 tech workers anticipate working from home at least 2 days a week in the future. We asked Candidates what this shift means for Downtown and across the region. Here’s what they said:
The Future of Work for Local Tech
While many offices are opening back up — most companies have changed their pre-pandemic office hours policies to include hybrid office and work-from-home policies. The Omincron Delta variant has thrown a wrench in many re-opening plans and it now appears that “the great reopening is canceled”. Many companies are delaying full re-opening to…who knows really the earliest in October and many are planning for January 2022. Here’s the latest from companies here in Seattle on their reopening plans.
- Amazon will leave work remote decisions to individual team leaders as long as workers can travel within a day’s notice to meet in person (Geekwire). Initially, Amazon planned on requiring workers to work 2 days a week remotely, and 3 days in the office to re-open offices in January but shifted the policy in October 2021. Additionally, corporate employees will have the choice to work up to 4 weeks a year from any location in their country of employment. (Aboutamazon.com) (Seattle Times)
- Zillow was one of the first major companies to indefinitely shift to a flexible work from home policy in July 2020. “We will offer about 90% of our employees the flexibility to work from home as an ongoing option, at least part-time, allowing them the ability to work where they are most productive, whether that is in the office, their home, or a combination of both.” (Zillow Group News)
- Workers at Salesforce and Tableau will have the option of working from home through December 31, 2021 and after that most workers will be in the office “one to three days per week for team collaboration, customer meetings and presentations.” Data from office re-openings in August 2020 in Australia informed the company-wide approach for workplace policies moving forward. ” (Salesforce Blog) (Forbes)
- Employees at Apple will be back in the office 3 days a week: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Apple was planning for employees to be back in the office by September but has since delayed re-opening plans to October at the earliest. Additionally, with approval employees will be able to work remotely for up to 2 weeks a year. (Bloomberg)
- Googlers will be returning to the office about 3 days a week and more employees will be able to request to work remotely full time and employees will be given more choices on where they’d like to work in one of their many offices around the world. Google has no definite return to office date. (The Verge) (Google Blog) (Wall Street Journal)
- Microsoft developed a “Hybrid Workplace Dial” that outlines six different stages of what re-opening will look like. Employees should expect that they’ll be able to work from home no more than 50% of the time and plan on re-opening in October(Microsoft)
- Facebook planned to reopen at 50% capacity by early September and fully open in October but due to the delta variant now plans to re-open in January. (Protocol). If an employee’s work can be done remotely they can request permanent remote work. For those who want to work in the office, they’ll be asked to work in the office at least half-time. Facebook also plans regular in-person meetings/events “for office and remote workers ‘to support the relationship-building.’” (CNBC).
Resources, data, and support
We are tracking the latest and greatest on back to the office and what that means for you and for our communities.
- Protocol: Protocol’s Return to work calendar (Updated: July 2021)
- Fast Company: Which big tech companies offer remote and hybrid work? (July 2021)
- Seattle Times: When you go back to the office, will you recognize it? How Seattle-area companies are preparing to bring workers back (March 2021)
- Insider: Salesforce CEO Says Workers Are Just As Productive at Home
- Wall Street Journal: An overachievers guide to hybrid work: how to gameplan your office days
Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are requiring staff to be vaccinated at the office and proof will be required. Others are likely to follow suit. Masks are also back in some workplaces, even if you are vaccinated.
- Microsoft Work Trend Index: The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready?
- Tableau: Analyzing how remote work has reshaped our behaviors: A data deep dive
- Expedia: Inclusion Everywhere – Remote Working
- Work from anywhere? Expedia Offers Two-Week “Work from Here” Trips for $20.20
- Yale News: Study reveals gender inequality in telecommuting | YaleNews
- Vox: What working from home means for women?
- Politico: The pandemic drove women out of the workforce. Will they come back?
- Bloomberg: Work From Home Has the Power to Advance Equality—or Set It Back
- Protocol: What it’s like to be an older worker in tech