How These Five Companies Are Planning to Return to Office Work

The growing pains go on as the post-pandemic landscape continues to settle and firm up at its own pace, never quite jelling into that New Normal that we all keep expecting to be signing up for soon. The reasons for this stop-and-start process are only human: we’ve never been here before, in this spot, with so many having gotten an extended, unexpected trial period of a whole new way of working – remotely – that seemed to beat the old office model in many ways: two of those most certainly have to do with A) being able to stay at home with our creature comforts all day long and B) skipping the commute.

But the pandemic was a frightening episode for all of us, and creature comforts mean a lot more during periods of uncertainty. We needed to be home, we all did. And some of us won’t be going back to the office. But many of us will, in order to catch that lightning-in-a-bottle quality of in-office teamwork that just can’t be matched in virtual space.

Across the land, the words ring out: “What are we supposed to do now?” Here are five companies that have some pretty good ideas:

What are some of the plans Instacart has for returning to office work?

In May, we introduced a new remote-friendly working model to provide our team with the flexibility they need as we return to work. Our new model includes a blend of in-office, flex, and fully remote options for employees to choose from.

This fall, we’re excited to welcome back employees to our offices in San Francisco, Toronto, and Atlanta. We’re committed to investing in our workplace experience to ensure that our team feels connected regardless of where they are, and for cities where we have a growing number of remote employees like New York City and Chicago, we’re introducing new coworking office spaces that offer the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a flexible office environment as well.

As part of our return to office, we’re hosting “Welcome Back” weeks at each of our offices with social events and opportunities to get to know all the new team members who have joined in the past 15 months.

How does office work benefit your company, as opposed to remote work? 

We believe that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to how we do our best work. No matter where you work—from our offices or from home—we want every Instacart employee to feel engaged, productive, and successful.

While we’ve learned to master the art of being virtually social over the past year and a half, it’s not easy to replicate gathering with your team in person, sharing lunch, or grabbing a drink during happy hour. A majority of our team has chosen to come into an office a few days a week to work together, and all of our remote employees have the option to travel to their team’s primary office multiple times throughout the year as well.

Check Out Instacart’s Careers Page Here!

What are some of the plans Phenom has for returning to office work? 

As we prepare for our slow, phased-in approach in returning to office at Phenom, we are keeping a close eye on the CDC guidelines in order to keep our employees safe and healthy. In the fall, we will allow select individuals to return to office on a volunteer basis to get a feel for our new work environment. We have prepared health and safety policies developed around cleanliness, capacity, and operation among group workspaces. Throughout the remainder of the year and into 2022, we plan to start bringing back the workforce in a hybrid approach. However, we recognize that what works for some does not work for all, so we will work around the needs, happiness, and comfort of our employees.

How does office work benefit your company, as opposed to remote work?

Phenom is a high-growth company and collaboration is our key to success. With remote work, the human element of collaboration is more challenging: sharing ideas, building relationships, and innovating as a team is different. Having employees in the office together is a tremendous benefit to our growing company culture.

Check Out Phenom’s Careers Page Here!

What are some of the plans Sunnova has for returning to office work? 

After surveying our team members on their thoughts about returning to the office, a committee of our department leaders reviewed the feedback and decided to implement a hybrid approach. While some groups have been back 100% since last summer, we continue to have some team members work primarily remote. As part of affirming a long-term remote/hybrid approach, our HR team provides additional online training and tips for managers for working with remote team members. We will do a follow-up survey with our team by the end of summer to review how the transitions are working.

How does office work benefit your company, as opposed to remote work?

Sunnova has a history/culture of collaboration. While our remote working tools have been of great help, there is still the “magic” that happens from teams working together and collaborating in person. Additionally, our Houston office has been focused on community/volunteer service, which has been hampered during the past 12+ months. We have brought back community food drives, scheduling events with the Child Advocates organization, and more. Plus, don’t forget about Taco Tuesdays and Cake Day! These events provide valuable time for us to reconnect and meet new team members.

Check Out Sunnova’s Careers Page Here!

What are some of the plans your company has for returning to office work? 

With the announcement of our new office location in Stamford, Connecticut, we are also introducing our new dynamic ways of working. Embracing flexibility for each unique person, focus time can be done at home while the office will be used primarily for collaboration and continuing to build connections with each other.

How does office work benefit your company, as opposed to remote work? 

‘Get Connected’ is one of our core values in action. Being in the office allows for more hallway conversations with colleagues you might not work with regularly as well as enhancing relationships with teammates.

Check Out Beiersdorf’s Careers Page Here!

What are some of the plans RingCentral has for returning to office work? 

We plan to open our offices fully in January 2022, but of course, we’re keeping an eye on the COVID numbers—the health and safety of our people come first. We’re studying our facilities, equipment, food – everything has to be thought through, and we’re communicating very closely with our employees to ensure their input is part of our plans. We’ve seen other companies make big moves too fast and have to about-face, so we want to be sure we get it right. No matter how we return to work, helping people be effective from anywhere is what we do. We’ll make the most of our own products and best practices to help our people perform their best.

How does office work benefit your company, as opposed to remote work?

Obviously, some roles, like IT, simply have to be on-premise to do their jobs. Other roles, like Sales, can be effective working remotely, but remember, salespeople, are people-people. They love being together and sharing ideas instantaneously. We want to get everyone who wants to be on-premise back together as quickly as possible, but blurring that line between on-premise and remote work is literally our business. No matter where our people are, or how they want to work, they’ll be able to contribute meaningfully.

Check Out RingCentral’s Careers Page Here!