Finance

Tech giants shift to hybrid working as Coinbase ditches Silicon Valley base

Tech companies are moving towards a hybrid working strategy, phasing in plans for remote working as some opt to ditch their physical footprint altogether.

Crypto exchange Coinbase said from next year, it plans to close its San Francisco office, which previously acted as its headquarters.

“We’ve committed to having no headquarters, and it’s important to show our decentralised workforce that no one location is [more] important than another,” the startup said in a 5 May statement.

The company said the move will make sure none of its offices become “an unofficial HQ and will mean career outcomes are based on capability and output, rather than location”. It plans to offer a network of smaller offices for employees to work from if they choose to.

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Search engine behemoth Google chimed in a few hours later, having sent a memo to all of its employees about its hybrid working proposal going forward.

Chief executive Sundar Pichai told employees on 5 May that Google will move to a hybrid work week from mid-June, where staff spend approximately three days in the office and have the ability to choose their location for the remaining two.

It will also offer opportunities for roles that are entirely remote. Google expects this will mean around 60% of its staff will come together in the office a few days a week, while 20% work in new office locations and the remaining fifth work from home.

Googlers will also be allowed to temporarily work from abroad for up to four weeks per year, in a bid to give staff more flexibility around summer and holiday travel after the pandemic. Internal virtual meetings will be limited during periods of “focus time”, in a similar strategy to Citigroup and Monzo’s Zoom-free Fridays.

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Pichai added that a Covid-era programme of additional global “reset” days, where the whole company takes a day off to recharge, will be extended.

“Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time,” Pichai told employees in the memo. “Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days of 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.”

Other companies are also considering similar approaches. One firm ditching the concept of the office entirely is Twitter, which told staff in May last year that they could remain working from home for good, if they choose to. It began sub-letting some floors of its San Francisco base at the end of 2020.

Facebook said last year that it plans to shift towards a substantially remote workforce over the next decade, with new US engineering recruits already being offered the choice to work from home.

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“This is about how we do better work and attract the people we need to do the best work we can,” chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon, however, told staff in March it will be taking an “office-centric” approach, The Seattle Times reported. It expects most of its corporate staff to be returning to the office by autumn this year.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Emily Nicolle

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