Technology companies transforming the remote control Work at the beginning of the pandemic is faced with a new difficulty: How, when, or whether to get employees back into the office.
Returning to office has become more difficult as the delta has expanded variant. Many tech companies had plans to bring their employees back around Labor Day, September 6th. Microsoft, a large technology company, has postponed its date to October. Other tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and a growing list of others have already decided to wait until next year.
As it has influenced the start of remote work, tech companies’ return-to-office policies are likely to impact other industries. Laura Boudreau is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Columbia University. She believes the next steps these employers may take could redefine where and how people work.
Boudreau says we have overcome the idea that working remotely is “a temporary thing”. She said it had become more difficult to tell staff to return to the office after the pandemic.
Most tech jobs are perfect for remote work as they involve programs and online products. However, most large tech companies want their employees to be able to work in the office two or three days a week after the pandemic ends.
That’s because tech companies believe that employees who work close together are more creative. It’s one of the reasons big tech companies have spent billions building new offices with fun common areas.
Christy Lake is the chief people officer of programmer Twilio. She says there is no research that supports the idea that people are more creative when they are together
Twilio will not bring most of its approximately 6,300 employees back to its offices until next year. It is also planned that most of them can choose how often to come.
Nearly two-thirds of the 200+ companies surveyed in July in the Bay Area, California’s premier technology hub, said they expect their employees to come to the office two or three days a week.
The Bay Area Council is a business group that conducted the research. It found that 70 percent of these employers required their employees to be in the office before the pandemic.
Even zoom that VideoCall service, which was widespread during the pandemic, says most of its employees want to come to the office part-time. Kelly Steckelberg is Zoom’s Chief Financial Officer. She recently wrote: “There is no one size fits all” approach back to the office. “
But the biggest tech companies don’t give their employees a choice. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have all made it clear that they want most of their employees to get together a few days a week to keep their culture alive.
Ed Zitron runs a public relations firm that represents technology companies. It’s been completely remote since its inception in 2012. He says the only reason to have an office is to do Manager happy, “so that they can look at them and be comfortable with the people who belong to them … so that they can enjoy that power.”
Working part-time in the office is perfect for people like Kelly Soderlund. She is the mother of two young children. She works for the travel management company TripActions in California. She couldn’t wait to get back to the offices in June. She missed the mental break that the hour-long drive to work provided between her personal and professional life.
“If I don’t have that, I wake up in the morning, start working and take my children to their camp or daycare center,” says Soderlund. “And then I come back and work and then we pick her up, make dinner, and then I go back to work. So it feels like it’s just work all the time. “
I am Gregory Stachel.
Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay covered this story for The Associated Press. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English. Susan Shand was the editor.
Quiz – Bay Area notes that working remotely is easier to start than finish
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Words in this story
remote control – adj. connected to a computer system from another location
variant – n. something that is in some ways different from others of the same kind
Video – n. of moving images shown on, related to, or containing moving images displayed on a television or computer screen
approach – n. a way of dealing with something: a way of doing something or thinking about it
administer – v. Have control over (something like a company, department, or sports team)