Back to the office strategies vary widely

TomPaine

Different strokes for different folks – that summarizes the varying stratagies of large tech companies on returning to the office post-pandemic policies. Some are still in flux.

Amazon updated its policy today, backing off from its March statement which implied back to the office full-time for all by the Fall. The adjusted policy will require in-office attendence at least three times per week. Obviously, this would not apply to warehouse and. fulfillment workers, who need to be where the action is.

In an interview on Monday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said 20% of its employees were already working away from the office prior to the pandemic. Benioff predicts 50% to 60& will work away from the office post-pandemic.

“The past is gone,” Benioff said. “We’ve created a whole new world, a new digital future, and you can see it playing out today.”

But like Comcast, Salesforce has a gigantic new tower in San Francisco, as well as expensive space in other cities like New York and Indiannopolis to account for.

It took a $216 million writedown for excess space last year.

 SAP, which has its North American headquarters in Newtown Square, declared employees would not be required to return to the office. The software vendor sent an e-mail to all of its 100,000 employees on June 1, promising a “100% flexible and trust-based workplace as the norm, not the exception.” I haven’t seen many large companies take this approach.

Comcast hasn’t yet declared a policy yet, a spokesperson told me. As of now, a few select high-level or essential employees have returned to the office.

Comcast invested a huge amount in real estate to get more employees in the same space to foster collaboration, and I doubt it will want to give that up.

I was going to mention Cerner, which probably has over 1,000 employees in Malvern. But the Kansas City-based company, which has been the subject of takeover rumors lately, announced hundreds of layoff today(550), at least some in Malvern. So I figured the subject was moot for the moment, since these people won’t be returning period. But Cerner decided on a hybrid approach.

Younger employees may often prefer the structure and social atmosphere of being present in the office. One person told me he feared not being in the office so he could protect himself politically. Some people just need a reason to get out of the house.