Jack says Twitter employees can work remotely forever so maybe you can too
No more shared office bathroom experiences.
Watching how big tech companies handle the balance between managing their workforce during a pandemic and paying for empty office space should signal how the rest of the country will handle opening up offices and shuffling employees back through the door. While there are idiosyncrasies depending on the type of business, the scales could shift in the future of work as it pertains to remote work.
I’ll get this out of the way — some people like being in the office and some people need to be. Fine. I’m aware of that caveat. For everyone else, remote work is spoken of in a generality. Your case may differ.
But we can take a cue from big tech. Back in March, Twitter shut its doors and sent everyone home. This is a company run by developers, software engineers, designers, and so on. Jobs that can be performed in a home office. Or from a laptop at the kitchen table. Now, Jack Dorsey has announced to employees that they can work at home for as long as they like. Twitter still plans on reopening the office, but the decision to come back will rest solely on the shoulders of the employee.
Which is something all business owners should keep in mind. There are some employees who don’t need to be in the office. There are some (warehouse, physical IT, maybe HR) that do. The point is that this pandemic has given us the clarity and the proof that we can all work remotely and business can get done. We’re all spending moneysetting up our home offices in the corner of the bedroom. Don’t make us come back if we don’t want to.
Meanwhile, Apple is planning on staggering employees back into the office around the world. There is some criticism here, but considering how much of Apple’s work is physical (copying specs from Samsung phones, drawing multiple cameras on whiteboards, losing future AirPods prototypes in the bathroom, keeping the Cupertino facility shiny and fresh), that kind of checks out for a lot of its staff. Hopefully, it takes the right kinds of precautions.
That’s kind of in the middle. I’m sure Apple will still allow some employees to work remotely if their job doesn’t require a physical office presence. These companies need to lead the way in the new paradigm, so your boss is able to make a decision that keeps productivity up and employees safe.
On the negative end of this stick is Tesla. Of course. Elon has lost his damn mind recently, fatherhood will do that to you. He’s defying California government orders and reopening the Fremont factory. I get it. Middle-aged white dudes aren’t getting the Tesla they ordered. In response to criticism, Musk threatened to move the factory out of state. There are thousands of jobs at stake. There is no easy solution. A lot of those jobs simply can’t be done remotely, so as an employee — what do you do?
A lot of workers and companies in the coming months are going to be facing these decisions about the future of work
Many of us don’t have to be in an office to perform our duties. I know one local company that told me that they don’t plan on making employees come into the office in the future, discovering that productivity has stayed steady if not increased during this forced work-at-home experience. Employees who want to, can, but precautions will be taken with the death of its open office design and staggered shifts.
These leaders of tech will be whom our leaders look to when making these decisions about opening the office. They are just lemmings with ties after all. Twitter, Apple, and Tesla all face different decisions because all three businesses are different in an operational sense: respectively, service, services and product, product. This changes how we approach getting back to work. If you are in the services sector (even if your company isn’t), there is no reason you should have to go back to the office if you don’t want to.
It’s a lot to think about for small businesses and companies renting large amounts of office space. There is money to be saved here, productivity to be gained and opportunities to be had in allowing and maintaining a remote workforce.
Plus, the more companies that go remote, the more opportunities exist for us, the beleaguered worker, to take our talents to any company, anywhere. On the flip, that’s more opportunity for companies to hire the best person for the job, regardless of physical location. As it pertains to the future of work, this is a huge positive. Especially for those of us who have invested so much in our home office, we couldn’t imagine going back to a stale cubicle with only two monitors and a keyboard tray we have to snap off in order to fit our legs under the particleboard.
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