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Salesforce says 'the 9-to-5 workday is dead,' and will provide 3 new ways for employees to work - including the possibility of working from home forever

Feb 10, 2021, 06:22 IST
Business Insider
Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.Stephen Lam/Getty Images
  • Salesforce announced it will offer three different ways of working going forward.
  • The "flex" option will allow employees to come into the office up to three days per week.
  • Other employees will work remotely full-time, while a small subset will come in every day.

Salesforce on Tuesday announced that its employees will have the option to work remotely full-time, even when it's safe to return to the office.

The new guidelines, which Salesforce is calling "Work From Anywhere," offer employees three different options for how they'll work going forward: flex, fully remote, and office-based. Salesforce said the decision to offer new ways of working was based on employee wellness surveys the company has been sending around since the onset of the pandemic.

For employees who work within the "flex" option, they'll report to the office anywhere from one to three days each week for tasks that are more challenging to do over video calls, like team collaboration, customer meetings, or presentations. Salesforce said most of its employees worldwide will have a flex schedule.

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Other employees will work fully remote - Salesforce said this option will be reserved for those who don't live near one of the company's offices or who work in roles that don't require being in a physical office.

Salesforce said only a small subset of its 49,000 employees will work in the office four to five days per week.

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"An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks," Brent Hyder, president and chief people office at Salesforce, wrote in a blog post announcing the change.

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Read more: Salesforce's AI ethics chief shares 3 ways to use tech when planning a safe return to the office

Salesforce expects the new options will help improve equality and diversity at the company - since workers won't be required to report to an office in places like San Francisco or New York, Salesforce can broaden recruiting to new locations.

A change to how employees work will also mean a change to Salesforce's physical offices. Salesforce has 19 offices in North America alone, including the recently completed Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, a 1,070-foot-high skyscraper that cost $1.1 billion to build. Hyder wrote that going forward, the offices will be redesigned as "community hubs" with collaboration and breakout spaces instead of rows of desks.

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Hyder didn't say when employees could expect to return to the office, but noted that "managing the spread of COVID-19 carefully will remain critical for most of the year." The company will also put rules into place like temperature screenings before entering the building, face coverings, deep cleaning, manual contact tracing, and at-home wellness declarations.

Salesforce initially told employees they could work from home until August 2021. But like many other tech companies, its plans seem to have shifted in the intervening months. Last year, as the company began slowly reopening its 160 office worldwide, it created a more "sterile" and "hospital-like" environment, removing light-hearted touches like trinkets on desks and "huge jars of gummy bears everywhere," CEO Marc Benioff told The New York Times in June.

And early on in the pandemic, Salesforce offered a 21-page handbook, available to anyone who wanted it, about how to safely reopen office spaces. The plan included rethinking some of the materials inside the office, adding glass dividers, and mandating social distancing, even in elevators.

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Now, with the vaccine slowly being distributed in the US and across the globe, Salesforce appears to be thinking about life after the virus: In a rendering of how the company envisions a more community-minded office, there are no dividers or social distancing signs, people stand to chat in the halls, and employees sit around a table to work - unmasked.

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