The COVID-19 pandemic has brought several unprecedented transformations across geographies and industries. Some of these changes are likely to prevail even after the world has recovered from the pandemic. The most significant shift of all has been the one experienced by the working class, the sudden change in global work culture.
In a matter of days, physical offices around the world were shut down, followed by living rooms, bedrooms, and dining spaces turning into home offices. It might have been a difficult transition for both the employees and the management initially. However, as days went by, positive results trumped over the technical glitches and at present, the industry players are championing the cause of permanent or long-term work from home, or at least keep the option of remote working open for the staff to avail at their will and convenience.
Given under are the names of leading global corporate entities who are spearheading this work culture evolution, by becoming the harbinger of change.
The social media giant has been one of the front-runners to issue remote working policies and norms in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. As the contagion started spreading aggressively in the USA and other parts of the world, Facebook took quick steps to vacate their offices and send the employees home, initiating remote working.
During the end of May, in a staff meeting that was live-streamed on CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, the staff was notified that the company plans to shift half of its workforce to permanent remote working in the coming years.
“It is clear that COVID has changed a lot about our lives, which certainly includes the way most of us work. Coming out of this period I believe that remote working will a growing trend as well”, commented Zuckerberg. He further mentioned that working from home has increased the productivity of the employees which is one of the key reasons behind management’s decision to bring transformation within the work culture.
The USA based blockchain and software company, HashCash Consultants has announced that they will keep their physical offices closed till 2021 considering the pandemic crisis. The company has offices in Singapore, UAE, Australia, and India, all of which have been vacated and the employees are carrying out their duties from home. HashCash’s partner subsidiaries present across geographies, notably in Africa and the UK have also initiated similar protocols.
“We have been closely monitoring the COVID situation and felt that the continuation of remote working will be best for both the employees and clients. Our team is fully functional and providing uninterrupted service to the clients and partners”, commented Raj Chowdhury, CEO, HashCash Consultants. Referring to remote working as the new corporate reality, he further added that the company has been remotely hiring talented professionals for available positions. Even after the pandemic gets resolved certain remote working norms are likely to remain unchanged as indicated by the management in their press report.
The social media company was one of the first to go to the remote working model during COVID-19, and they are not in a hurry to return to the physical offices anytime soon. In a blog posted on the company website, it has been mentioned that the company has been supporting its distributed workforce through a decentralized approach, which they intend to continue in the future as well.
While the offices might open after September, joining will be completely at the behest of the employees. They will be at full liberty to continue working remotely. “So, if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen”, mentioned Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter.Inc.
As reported by Fortune.com in May, Nationwide Insurance has shifted the majority of its employees to a permanent remote working model. It might have been a pandemic initiative at first, however, the company was fast to realize the benefits associated with such a work model and are presently working out policies and regulations to make it a permanent move for the employees.
The company made its decision in March, shifting 98 percent of the employee strength to work from home in a matter of 5 days. “We wanted to keep our employees safe and keep the associates connected. There were initial technical glitches, but once that got sorted, we were able to track all of our key performance indicators. There has been no change regarding work, rather a vast improvement. It is working”, commented Kirt Walker, CEO, Nationwide Insurance.
The cryptocurrency exchange with headquarters in San Francisco has transformed into a ‘remote-first company’ in the light of the COVID-19 crisis. The company has plans to give this initial shift permanency, by offering the option of work from home to employees involved in diverse roles.
“Over the last 2 months, I have come to believe that not only is remote working here to stay but that it represents a huge opportunity and a strategic advantage for all of us”, commented Brian Armstrong, CEO, Coinbase.
In a blog posted by Armstrong, he mentioned that people have been trading and using crypto more than usual amid the pandemic lockdown, which is a great sign for the overall development of the crypto industry and its mass adoption. He went on to say that some of the employees have found remote working to be a welcoming change and that the transition was less complicated than initially anticipated.
Shopify is driving change within the company’s work culture and planning for a permanent shift to remote working in the future as indicated by the company CEO. The fast-growing Canadian e-commerce platform provider, catering online stores across 175 countries, was fast to shift to work from home once the pandemic alert was declared. Following that shift Founder and CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted declaring Shopify as digital by default company. He mentioned, “We will keep our office closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for the new reality.”
Claiming the end of an office centric model, he further stated that although the company always had a handful working from home, that will soon become a majority. “The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your work from home setup”, tweeted Lutke.
The global freelancing company has been majorly functioning on a remote working model for more than two decades. However, with the COVID-19 crisis, Upwork has declared the initiation of the remote-first model just like Coinbase.
In a tweet, Hayden Brown, CEO, Upwork, mentioned, “Building on our 20 years of experience as a remote working company we are now permanently embracing the remote-first work model.” Talking about the future he added that remote working is likely to become a default working culture globally shortly.
As reported by BBC, the global technology firm Fujitsu, has announced their permanent remote working plan naming it as the Work Life Shift programme. It will allow more than 80 thousand of its employees to work at flexible timings, with standard work from home model. The initial steps were taken during May when the company intimated that it is working on introducing a work culture model that empowers the employees with a more enriching and creative experience.
Post that they initiated the new remote working programme that will allow the staff to choose their convenient work location, be it home, a corporate or satellite office. The company’s ideology behind this is to keep the autonomy in the hands of the employees for improvement in productivity. There was, however, no personal statement available from the key people of the management on the matter.
With global companies and corporations supporting the remote working model, the revolution to transform the global work culture is gradually gaining momentum, establishing an alternative working model for employees worldwide.
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