What CEOs and Executives Think About The Future of Work Offices in 2022
Back to the office in 2022: Is it a GREEN or a RED signal?
Two years have passed since the COVID-19 rocked the world. Among the most affected sectors are the laborers. Since then, work and the idea of the office have been redefined. The solutions that many companies have taken are remote work arrangements or hybrid. However, naturally, labor-intensive businesses have only adjusted their number of employees while other establishments have temporarily closed. Others just simply got out of the business because of the uncertainties and huge losses.
Recently, aside from the known remote work and hybrid setup, the term “shybrid” has surfaced to describe a situation in which there is a conflicting view regarding the future of work offices. Employers were continuously pushing back returned dates and could not demand everyone to go back to the offices. Meanwhile, employees are also facing limbo about the future of their work. For instance, Ford Motor has moved its return to offices from January to March. Lyft Inc from February this year to 2023, while big companies in Singapore like Microsoft, P&G, DBS Bank have kept their number of employees low in the office to oversee how the omicron variant would play out.
On top of that, 75% have decided to return to the office, but only 25% of them have a return date. Additionally, 50% of its employees working at home are expected to return to the office provided they meet the basic requirements. This includes fully vaccinated employees and those who recovered from COVID-19 in the past 180 days or roughly six months. But the question of certainties remains a blurry path towards the future of work.
Here is what CEOs of big companies think about the future of work offices in 2022
1. Hayden Brown of Upwork
Upwork is one of the biggest platforms for freelancers to kickstart their freelancing journey and possibly build a promising career. Its CEO, Hayden Brown, could not be anything but support the rise of remote work, especially for freelancers worldwide. That means more opportunities online for freelancers and employees who want to transition into the freelancing business.
In an interview with TIME about remote work, Brown expressed her thoughts about the future of work being remote.
“People have reported less-nonessential meetings happening, and they feel like they’re more focused at home, where they don’t have a lot of the in-office distractions. We kind of have this myth, sometimes, that the office is a really productive place, and in fact, a lot of people say the office isn’t always the most productive. There’s a lot of noise, there’s a lot of people that come by my desk.”
2. Tim Ryan of PwC
Previously, last year in October, PwC CEO Tim Ryan announced that their employees have the option of working remotely permanently.
“CEOs are now just beginning to realize that if you’re employing thousands and thousands and thousands of people, you need to have multiple options.”
Ryan also said that preferences are changing and believes that this shift would make other companies realize this too in the future.
3. Stewart Butterfield of Slack
In December last year, in an interview with the Washington Post about remote and hybrid work setup, CEO of Slack and founder of Flickr expressed his thoughts about CEOs tempting their employees to get back to the office as a “doomed approach.”
“When I see headlines about CEOs trying to lure employees back to the office, I feel like it’s probably a doomed approach,” Butterfield said in an interview.
“If you asked [me] in February of 2020, could the whole company go remote and maintain the same level of productivity? I would have said no. When something you thought was impossible turns out to be possible, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What else do I think is impossible that could actually be possible?” he added.
Like Brown, It is clear that Butterfield sees remote and hybrid as the future of work offices, adapting to the change and improving work and business operations around that matter.
4. David Solomon of Goldman Sachs
While other CEOs have opted for remote work as a viable solution and perhaps could be the future, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon says it’s not for everyone. He also said that the remote work model is not the new normal and needs to be corrected.
“I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us. And it’s not a new normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible.”
Solomon is not the only one in his view. JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon also shared his thoughts on the matter, emphasizing work culture, character, and sharing ideas when working in the office.
5. Sundar Pichai of Google
While it is whether remote work setup or at the office for other companies, Google’s Sundar Pichai says its future is flexibility. That is the hybrid work setup where employees can work out both options. Moreover, going to the office depends on the circumstances and restrictions amid COVID-19.
“The majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time yet many would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days a week….spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities. We’re moving to a hybrid work week with most Googlers in the office approximately 3 days a week,” Pichai wrote on a Twitter post.
In regards to hybrid work setup, employees can also opt to work remotely at coworking spaces.
Future Of Work At Singapore
While CEOs of big companies in the US have still been experimenting and in limbo about the future, Singapore turned out to be positive towards digitization, carrying the future of work with it.
In a survey made by KMPG, 2020, the majority of CEOs (84%) compared to the global statistic of (69%) reported that Working From Home (WFH) and in remote locations is irreversible, and the companies will be downsizing office spaces in the future.
Additionally, CEOs in Singapore are also topping the list in the progress of digitization, where creating new business models has put them to compete better in the global market. On top of that, its government sees that the country could become the leader in the digital transformation after backing it with its Smart Nation goal through a series of collective efforts and support.
“In the long run, as technologies evolve and it becomes easier and more acceptable to service clients remotely, potential employees may be less willing to physically relocate to a new geography.”
Tay Hong Beng, Head of Real Estate, KPMG in Singapore
Also Read: 8 Places To Work From If You Miss The Office
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