Who’s going back?

A list of companies going fully remote, hybrid, or back to the office.

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, remote work went from being an emerging trend to the new normal. As offices shuttered and zoom fatigue reigned, executives and ops teams expected employees to be eager to get back to the offices; promising reopenings by June... then September... then January...

Now, over a year into the pandemic, with vaccine deployment going strong (in the US at least). It’s finally starting to look like offices might be safe enough to start reopening.

But it turns out a lot of people don’t want to go back.

According to a Microsoft’s Work Trend report, 73% of workers want flexible remote options to continue. Furthermore, companies’ willingness to support flexible work is becoming a major factor in choosing where to work. In one company we talked to, 50% of employees said they’d quit if forced to return to the office.

Given these stats, we were curious to find out what different companies are planning, so dug through the internet and talked to people we know and started putting together a list. We’ll keep updating it as we find more information, and if you have intel please share.

View the Tracking project on Coda

In the list you’ll see a few definitions that may be new to you. Since hybrid work is so varied we are assembling a vocabulary to make sure we're all talking about the same thing.

Most roles required to work a traditional work week.

Remote options available, but with strong preference for in office work.

Static hybrid
Individuals will make a choice of being based in the office or remote permanently.

Synchronized hybrid
Teams, or companies, work from the office on the same days. e.g. Tuesday to Thursday in the office.

Default digital
Remote-first, full flexibility. Drop in co-working spaces in certain locations. No requirement of location. Individuals may be remote or in the office on no fixed schedule

Fully remote
Remote-first, no formal offices.

As you see, hybrid work is clearly the new normal. But you may also have heard that hybrid work is the worst of both worlds. You have all the challenges of being remote, while losing the benefits of being in-person. You have two employee populations who have fundamentally different work experiences.

Running a remote organization will be difficult and require an intentional approach to work practices; org design and communication architecture will be essential skills. Already, managers and executives are concerned about:

  • Keeping track of work, while limiting meeting load
  • Serendipitous information flow
  • Effectively building social connectedness
  • Remote employees becoming second-class citizens

At the same time, we are optimistic that the change is ultimately positive for workers. More flexibility leads to more inclusive, engaged, and ultimately productive teams. The era of Theory X management is behind us.

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My thoughts are employees are in charge, not companies. The employees and the talent market is going to drive working flexibility, not the companies. Because if a company says these are our rules, they’re not going to have the talent.

At Range we were already building tools to help remote teams. We saw the need for a new generation of workplace software that helps teams be more effective, regardless of where or when they are working. We saw the need for software that addresses both the work-side of work and the human-side of work.

Today, hundreds of teams use Range to stay connected, focused, and productive. At the core is an asynchronous check-in that’s better than a standup because it integrates with all the tools you use, saving that valuable in-person time for more important things.

If your team is going hybrid, you should give us a try.

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Post COVID Reopenings. Who's going back?
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