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Making Remote Work Part of the Culture

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Businessman leading a big team
Image: Photocreo Bednarek -
We launched the WorkSpace Connect brand almost two years ago as an attempt to foster greater collaboration among enterprise decision-makers from HR, IT, and facilities/real estate teams. We saw this need for collaboration as mostly an organizational challenge, one of sharing information and understanding the trends, challenges, and limitations across these three corporate silos.
The pandemic shifted the subject of the conversation, from open offices to remote work, but at first it didn’t change the organizational dynamic. Improving the remote work experience across technology, equipment/space, and policy mostly remained an ad hoc effort among the relevant enterprise teams. But that could be changing, at least for some employers.
Fast Company reports that Facebook is advertising a new position — director of remote work. Given that Facebook has been a bellwether for the pandemic-driven shift to telecommuting, Fast Company sees a potential trend of employers trying to formalize the job of ensuring a good employee experience for remote workers. The publication quotes Brynn Harrington, Facebook’s vice president of people growth, as suggesting that the company’s remote work focus, going forward, isn’t just about the experience that remote workers are having; it’s about the experience of working for Facebook, wherever you are — in the office or remote.
“The remote experience should be the Facebook experience,” Harrington told Fast Company.
The job requirements for Facebook’s remote work director suggest that the company is looking for someone with an HR background. That jibes with a WorkSpace Connect post that HR consultant Jon Ingham wrote this past summer. Perhaps anticipating a move like Facebook’s, formalizing the remote-work director role, Jon argued that, while IT and facilities/real estate must have input in shaping the remote workers’ experience, HR needs to take the lead.
We’ll continue to see debate over just how extensive the transition to large-scale remote work will be post-pandemic, though data from a survey from the consultancy PwC suggests that much of the transition will stick, long term. Thirty-nine percent of decision-makers told PwC that, pre-COVID, most office employees worked from home at least one day a week; this figure rose to 77% mid-pandemic, and 55% of respondents expected this level of remote work to continue post-pandemic.
Certainly, Facebook and other tech companies will remain on the vanguard of not just allowing remote work, but incorporating it into the enterprise culture. But the PwC data suggests that greater remote work is here to stay for knowledge workers across industries. Enterprises may well need to consider taking a more formal approach to designing the employee experience for these workers.