Insights for Managers

How the Top Global Companies Are Approaching Work From Anywhere

Cedric Jackson

July 08, 2021

Whether you want to work from anywhere or run a company that offers remote work for employees, you can use other companies for inspiration on policies.

Take a closer look at the top global companies and their approaches to work from anywhere. You will see that the approaches vary greatly.

The common theme, however, is that there has been an increase in work-from-anywhere policies following the pandemic. 

Facebook 

During the pandemic, Facebook decided to let employees work from anywhere as long as their job could be done remotely. 

In June 2021, Facebook announced that this policy would remain.

Employees that can complete their roles remotely can continue to work from anywhere. They simply need to officially request remote work.

According to Facebook, 90% of these requests have been approved. Employees can even request to work internationally.

Examples of roles that still need to be done in-person include working in the data centers or on hardware devices. 

If an employee does not have remote work permission, they will have to go to the office half the time or more. Mark Zuckerberg has said that he will spend up to half of his time through 2022 working remotely. 

This policy is a change from what Facebook had originally planned.

As of May 2020, only experienced and senior employees were going to have a permanent work-from-home option. The change likely comes from a combination of employee pressure and the length of the pandemic. 

The caveat for this policy is that it only applies to Facebook employees.

Anyone who is subcontracted still has to come into the office. For example, content moderation is commonly subcontracted. 

Even with the work-from-anywhere policy, Facebook plans to open its offices at half capacity by September and 100% capacity by October. 

Twitter

Twitter has been a pioneer in work-from-anywhere policies.

In May 2020, CEO Jack Dorsey announced that any employee that wanted to continue working from home could do so “forever.” This made Twitter among the first major companies to announce a permanent work from home policy. 

According to reports, this change was not entirely due to the pandemic.

Twitter had already been in the progress of shifting to a permanent work-from-anywhere setup. The plan would have originally taken about two years to phase in. However, the pandemic sped it up.

For context, Dorsey emailed employees in 2018 and told them to work from home if they wanted to. This was based on his own productivity boost when working from home. 

Twitter worked very hard to get to this point. The process of shifting to remote work permanently began after Dorsey sent out that 2018 email.

From then, Twitter worked on testing virtual meetings while still in offices and coming up with etiquette for video conferences. 

While Twitter is shifting to work from anywhere, the company is not keen to sell its physical properties. As of late 2020, it was subleasing out spaces instead. 

Square

Jack Dorsey is also the CEO of Square. Shortly after announcing the permanent work from anywhere option for Twitter employees, he did the same for Square employees. 

Google

Google originally had one of the strictest approaches to work from anywhere.

In December 2020, the company said it wanted workers to work in the office at least three days every week.

In response to criticism, however, the company changed its mind. That said, Google will still have much fewer remote workers than other major companies. 

As of May 2021, Google announced that approximately 60% of employees will be in the office for a few days every week. About 20% will work from home, and another 20% will work in new offices. 

Google also changed its policy on how long employees can work from a different office. Before the pandemic, employees could request this for up to two weeks per year. Now, that number is four. 

The changes will go into effect in September. Until then, Google employees can continue working from home. 

A Brief Look at Other Companies 

Salesforce

Salesforce has a new work from anywhere policy as well.

In addition to fully remote and office-based options, employees now have a flex option. The flex option lets employees go into the office as many as three times per week. 

Spotify

As of May 2021, Spotify also announced plans to transition to a permanent work-from-anywhere policy.

This plan will let employees choose to work in their normal offices or at home.

There is also the option to work in co-working spaces that Spotify will pay for.

This change will also let employees work from anywhere geographically, meaning they can choose to work anywhere with an internet connection. 

Companies With the Opposite Approach

Some companies, especially those in the financial sector, are fully against work from anywhere policies.

Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan’s C-suites have both said they do not think work from home will permanently work with their culture or services. 

Even other tech companies sometimes feel that remote work is not ideal. For example, Netflix has said that remote work is only negative. 

The Bottom Line

While some companies are still struggling to wrap their heads around the benefits of remote work, others have fully embraced it due to the boost in productivity and other advantages. 

We believe remote work is an inevitability, and the pandemic was only an accelerant for the virtual work trend that was in progress.

Learning about remote work policies and trying them will put your company ahead of the competition and help you attract the best global talent.

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