Silicon Valley embraces “work from anywhere” ethos

Policy can swell talent pool, sparing recruits from pricey housing markets

National /
May.May 18, 2020 12:00 PM
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Dorsey by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images; Zuckerberg by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Dorsey by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images; Zuckerberg by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The tech industry, which for years has lured workers with amenity-laden offices, might be shifting to “work from anywhere” as a recruiting tool.

Some tech companies say the changes spurred by the coronavirus — particularly the big jump in working from home — will have a lasting impact on how their industry recruits and functions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has already said that most of his employees can work from home indefinitely, while Google and Facebook are letting theirs do so until at least the end of the year. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has canceled all meetings of 50 or more people through next June, and firms are experimenting with ways to hold product launches and conferences online.

Some executives think the shift could aid their recruiting outside of Seattle and San Francisco, where increasing living expenses have made it hard to import talent and sparked a local backlash against the tech companies for making those areas less affordable. There is already talk of work-from-home dousing home values in insanely tight markets such as Silicon Valley.

Perks for workers who are no longer required to be at their headquarters could include daily food stipends or off-site events where teams can get together in person for a few days.

“You can recruit from anywhere. That’s just great because the talent pool is way bigger,” Aaron Levie, CEO of the cloud-computing company Box, told the Journal. “Even if you kept salaries the same, your employees would be able to get more out of their salary dollars if they could work anywhere.”

But it could also prove challenging to maintain the communication and camaraderie that flows from having people work in the same office. Some think a split between working from home and the office is likely. Brynn Harrington, Facebook’s vice president of people growth and operations, told the Journal she did not see the company shifting completely to remote work.

“We’re a very meeting-centric company,” she said. “I don’t think that there are great examples of companies that solved innovation in remote environments.” [WSJ] — Eddie Small


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