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Seven Companies Changing the Future of Work by Permanently Going Remote

By September 25, 2020No Comments
Woman working remotely with a laptop

Lockdowns due to COVID-19 forced many companies to shift to remote work models, but now some are moving back into the office as governments lift restrictions. JPMorgan recently required senior traders to return to the office, ending months of remote work. Goldman Sachs followed suit by announcing it would return its workforce to offices in rotational shifts. And in Dallas, over 36% of companies already work out of their offices again—the highest percentage in the country.

While these companies double down on the status quo of in-office work, forward-thinking counterparts like Okta and Zillow adopted permanent remote-work policies that are popular with employees. According to Perceptyx, only 4% of workers want to return to their offices full-time after the pandemic.

Companies who shift to a remote-work model boost their ability to attract and retain top talent. Additionally, businesses diversify their talent pools and gain unique skillsets when they can hire workers outside of a specific market. Read on to discover seven companies that are changing the future of work by allowing employees to permanently work remotely.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most well-known companies shifting to a permanent remote work model. CEO Mark Zuckerberg expects that up to half of Facebook’s 45,000+ employees will work outside the office by 2030.

This move is a stark reversal from Facebook’s previous strategy, which centered around the physical workplace. Facebook once incentivized employees to live within 10 miles of its headquarters. In 2018, the social network giant hired renowned architect Frank Gehry to remodel and expand its main campus—a testament to its belief that a state-of-the-art workplace attracts top talent, improves culture, and keeps workers engaged.

Zuckerberg changed his mentality during the pandemic. Because Facebook employees maintained productivity while working outside the physical workplace, Zuckerberg decided to permanently implement the work model.

Now, the company expects to save money by shifting to remote work. Aside from minimizing physical workplace costs, Facebook will reduce payroll by adjusting remote workers’ salaries depending on their cost of living. Because the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the country, Facebook benefits from paying employees who move to more affordable areas.

Okta

Okta is a SaaS company that provides employee connectivity solutions for nearly 9,000 organizations, from JetBlue to Nordstrom. Like Facebook, this Silicon Valley company adopted a permanent remote-work policy.

Prompted by overwhelming employee sentiment, along with hiring challenges from the Trump administration’s immigration restrictions, Okta started shifting to a work remodel before COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, 30% of Okta’s 2,600 employees worked remotely. The company expects that number will ultimately rise to 85%. Like Facebook, Okta plans on adjusting worker pay to compensate for the lower cost of living outside major tech hubs like San Francisco.

Zillow

Zillow temporarily shifted to remote work during COVID-19, and the Seattle-based online real estate company decided to make the change permanent.

“There is a balance where people can be most effective,” said Zillow’s Chief People Officer Dan Spaulding. “That balance is unique for all of us.” To account for that balance, Zillow allows employees to come into offices at will—whether a few days per month or on a more regular basis.

According to Spaulding, younger employees pushed for remote work before the pandemic, but senior leadership resisted the idea. Spaulding attributes the attitude change to COVID-19. Because the pandemic forced Zillow to successfully implement new work models and reimagine ways to utilize technology, the company gained firsthand insight into the value in remote work.

Part of that value comes from cost savings. Like other companies shifting to permanent remote work, Zillow will adjust employee pay based on location.

Coinbase

Coinbase, a cryptocurrency company based in San Francisco, recently announced most employees could permanently work remotely. Coinbase sees remote work as an emerging trend aligned with the company’s goal of progress. “I want us to choose innovation and make our company an extension of the values of crypto,” said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.

Coinbase strives to create a consistent work experience regardless of where an employee chooses to work. By continuously monitoring and adjusting its remote-work policy, Coinbase plans to ensure all employees feel comfortable with their work environment, whether at home or in the office.

The company also plans to open new office hubs across the world to accommodate employees who aren’t ready to work remotely. “The vision is to have one floor of office spaces in ten cities, rather than ten floors of office space in one city,” said Armstrong.

As a result, Coinbase’s new policy will give the company a wider talent pool to hire from—no matter where employees prefer to work.

Nationwide Insurance

Innovative tech companies aren’t the only ones shifting to permanent remote work. Insurance company Nationwide plans to shut down five traditional brick-and-mortar offices by November 2020, transitioning those employees to remote work.

Nationwide decided to make the shift after successfully transitioning to a 98% work-from-home model during the pandemic. “Our associates and our technology team have proven to us that we can serve our members and partners with extraordinary care with a large portion of our team working from home,” says Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker.

Slack

Slack recently announced its plans to become a “much more distributed company.” This means that the company allows most employees to choose permanent remote work.

Slack will not open its offices—which range from Dublin and Vancouver to New York City and Istanbul—until June 2021 at the earliest.  In the meantime, the company is optimizing its remote work policies and practices. “We’re using this moment as an opportunity to try new things and question long-held assumptions about nearly everything,” said Robby Kwok, Senior Vice President of People at Slack.

The communication company says it’s already seen the positives of remote work. Employees spend less time in meetings and have more productive time. Remote employees outside the San Francisco headquarters feel equal to their coworkers who previously worked in the office.  Employees who felt uncomfortable in large meetings now have the opportunity to contribute in ways that feel more appropriate to them.

Additionally, Slack is increasing its efforts to hire permanent remote workers across the world. Like Coinbase, Slack is expanding its talent pool—and its ability to find the right employees—by hiring from international markets.

Shopify

Global e-commerce company Shopify is allowing all 5,000 of its employees to work from home indefinitely.

In May, Shopify announced that at least 75% of its employees will continue to work remotely even after governments lift pandemic lockdowns. “Office centricity is over,” CEO Tobi Lutke said. “We cannot go back to the way things were. This isn’t a choice; this is the future.”

Lutke cited Shopify’s ability to employ a global workforce as a benefit to remote work: “We now have the opportunity to be joined by a whole lot of incredible individuals from around the world that otherwise couldn’t because of our previous default to proximity.”

Why Remote Work Benefits Both Employees and Employers

As Shopify’s CEO noted, companies that adopt remote work models have access to wider talent pools. That’s why Mark Muro, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, sees remote work as beneficial to both employers and employees.

Employees benefit from not commuting to work and their ability to move away from costly urban areas without sacrificing access to competitive jobs. Employers, on the other hand, are no longer restricted to hiring talent within their primary market. When companies source talent globally, they increase their chances of finding employees that meet their specific needs.

Velocity Global is a worldwide leader in helping companies employ and manage top talent from across the globe. Contact us today to find out how our global employment solutions can help you compete for top talent in the age of remote work.