As the Covid pandemic appears to be receding in most parts of the world – save for the situation in China – a clear delineation is forming between companies who have made the decision to grant their employees the freedom of working from home indefinitely (in theory, forever) versus those who have been asking their employees to make their way back to the office, if not on a full-time basis, then for at least 2 days per week.
Objectively speaking, there are arguably benefits in both approaches, for example sales teams which come together on a regular basis have a greater opportunity to build rapport, common ground and brainstorm. Younger members of the workforce may well prefer to be physically present in office spaces where they can learn from their more experienced colleagues, not to mention partake in those good old “water-cooler” conversations, which have been responsible for many a spark of inspiration for better ways of doing things.
In Jurupa’s field of work, the overwhelming direction of travel has been a trend toward fully remote working, with firms in some cases giving employees the option to travel into the office when they feel like it. This remarkably relaxed new reality – undoubtedly reinforced and subsequently made standard practice by the global onset of Covid – would have been seemingly unthinkable 10, 15 or 20 years ago. In my own experiences of recruiting staff into tech companies, the mindset of hiring managers was almost invariably one of if you’re not at your desk where I can see you, then you’re not really working.
It goes without saying that this has not been an easy transition for some – indeed, a great deal of trust has had to be learned and by extension, flexibility factored into the equation. In this regard, trailblazing “all-remote” companies such as GitLab found themselves ahead of the curve at the outset of the pandemic. Indeed, when coronavirus broke out in Silicon Valley, it prompted many tech companies to order employees to work from home and to re-examine how their companies operate. However since GitLab is an all-remote company with no offices, it was business as usual.
So in conclusion, it appears to this observer that we’ve passed the point of no return on this path, at least within the tech world. After all, this is the industry, which has been responsible for creating the tools which enable remote work in the first place, so it would be a poor advert for Silicon Valley if they weren’t the first to embrace this brave new world.