Take our return-to-office survey to help us understand how employees feel about their companies’ remote work policies

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A group of four people sit around tablet screens. To the left of them reads the text "How do employees from around the world feel about returning to the office?"

  • Many companies have been working remotely for over a year.
  • Now it's time for them to decide when and how to return, and the first policies are being announced.
  • Have an opinion? Take our survey.

Do you miss the office? Share your opinion in our global survey

Should you bring your employees to the office five or two days a week?

Who should decide on the time and date of return to the office: management boards, teams, or employees themselves?

Offices are (probably) coming back

Global companies already have the first answers. For now, they agree on one thing: they want to open offices as soon as possible. The date moves every month.

In early September this year, Google announced that it would be January 2022. Earlier it spoke of October 2021, and even earlier about September and July.

Other tech giants are also planning to reopen their offices early next year. Facebook, Apple, Uber, and Roblox all set the new date for January. Asana and Lyft chose February, and Airbnb selected September 2022.

After it didn't follow its announcement to open offices in early October this year, Microsoft does not want to announce a new return date at all.

As for companies outside the tech industry, Goldman Sachs employees have been in the office since June this year, and Nike and Starbucks employees will head back to the office from January 2022.

Only the vaccinated can enter

If there is one thing American employers agree on in return-to-office policies, it's vaccination. Back in July this year, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft did not require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Today the same companies treat vaccinating office staff as mandatory. This is the case with Google (from July 28), Facebook, Twitter, Lyft, Uber, Cisco, Microsoft, Adobe, VMware, Twilio, and Asana.

One of the few big tech companies that has yet to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory is Apple. Beginning November 1, unvaccinated office workers in this company must undergo a COVID-19 test every time they enter their office door, and the vaccinated ones must take one rapid test per week. By October 24, all employees must inform the iPhone manufacturer of their vaccination status and show proof.

Do you miss the office? Share your opinion in our global survey

Apple will soon be forced to change its policy on compulsory vaccination, though. US President Joe Biden ordered government contractors to fully vaccinate their employees by December 6, and Apple sells its products to the US administration through a dedicated sales channel.

Is working in the office an opportunity or an obligation?

The main line of dispute on hybrid work is around flexibility – should employees be given the choice between working in the office and working from home? There is no consent among companies here.

The social network Twitter gives the greatest freedom among tech corporations. In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, CEO Jack Dorsey announced to employees that they could work remotely "forever". Offices were treated as an option for those willing.

Among large corporations, this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Uber, Revolut, Spotify, KPMG, EY, JP Morgan, HSBC, Unilever, and Disney have all announced hybrid work as company policy.

For now, these plans only exist on paper. Some employees are openly protesting against being forced to work in the office. As recently reported by Vox and The Verge, over 7,000 Apple employees participate regularly in an internal corporate Slack group called "remote work advocacy," where workers discuss their frustrations with management on the issue, and how other companies are offering more flexible arrangements. The group's conversations with CEO Tim Cook on remote work leak to the press regularly, proving how important and sensitive the subject is for tech talent.

Employers change their minds about working from home

The pressure on employers to adopt fully flexible work is growing. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced a new policy in mid-October stating that workers will be able to perform their tasks from home full time, and how many days they come into the office will be up to their team director to decide.

Labor market analysts note that Amazon has just started a huge recruiting campaign for 40,000 corporate and tech positions which will constitute a 20% rise in staffing. Remote work could potentially become a bargaining chip in the fight for specialists.

Do you miss the office? Share your opinion in our global survey

The research firm Gartner recently asked 10,000 digital workers in the US, Europe and Asia about what is important to them at work and what helps them to be more productive. 43% of specialists mentioned flexibility of working hours, and 30% of them indicated that they are more effective when they spend less time commuting or do not commute to the office at all.

In late September, PwC became the first of the big four accounting and consulting companies to offer permanent remote work to willing customer service staff, affecting 40,000 people in the US alone. PwC employees who choose to work from home permanently will have to come to the offices at least three days a month for scheduled in-person meetings, key team meetings, client visits, or learning sessions.

PwC makes no secret that its flexible attitude to work from home is motivated by the desire to retain and attract talent, and in mid-June this year, the company, which employs 295,000 people worldwide, announced a plan to recruit 100,000 new workers (70-75,000 from outside the US).

Share your opinion with us

The future model of work is being shaped in front of our eyes. As the Amazon and PwC examples show, offering employees real flexibility in their choice of work options can be a calling card for the most innovative employers in the months to come. What's your opinion? What should be the future work model for you and your company?

Share your opinion in our global survey about returning to the office. There are 17 questions that will take you no more than 5-7 minutes to answer.

In return, you will receive a report with research results and expert comments. We'll also invite you to an exclusive webinar where you will learn how the world's most progressive companies are resolving their return-to-office dilemmas.

Do you miss the office? Share your opinion in our global survey

Read the original article on Business Insider

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