Salesforce expects at least half of employees to continue working remotely

Just 20% of the CRM provider's employees worked from home prior to the pandemic

At least half of Salesforce employees will continue to work from home after the pandemic, according to the CRM services provider's CEO Marc Benioff.

In an interview with CNBC, Benioff said that "maybe 50%, 60% [of staff] are going to be working at home", which is considerably more than prior to the pandemic.

"Before this all started, 20% of our workers worked at home," he said. 

Salesforce has had a notably lax attitude towards its employees returning to the office, with the company's president and chief people officer Brent Hyder recently stating that "the 9-to-5 workday is dead"

In February, the company announced that it would provide its employees with the choice of three working models; flex, fully remote and office-based. Those opting for the 'flex' model will spend between one and three days a week in the office, mostly for collaborative projects, customer meetings and presentations.

Although Benioff said that he "won't be ringing any bell saying: alright everybody get back in the office", he expects staff to "come back" eventually. However, he noted that the working experience has been inadvertently changed over the course of the pandemic.

"The past is gone," he said. "We've created a whole new world, a new digital future, and you can see it playing out today."

Commenting on the news, Forrester VP and principal analyst J.P. Gownder told IT Pro that "forward-thinking companies are offering new forms of flexibility suited to the roles of their employees".

"By embracing hybrid work, fully-remote work, and office-based work, Salesforce and similar companies maximise the chance that they will attract and retain talent in an era when employees expect the lessons from the pandemic will lead to a better employee experience," he said.

Other tech companies embracing remote working include Dropbox, Panaseer, HomeHero, and 3RSP, with the latter's business development director Stuart Melling telling IT Pro that he "can't imagine why we'd force people to return just for the sake of it".

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However, not all companies seem to agree. Last week, Apple employees received a company memo requesting their presence in the office for at least three days a week from September, which was met with protest. According to an internal letter obtained by The Verge,  staff responded by asking the company to reconsider its stance and let the workers experience the same level of flexibility as during the pandemic.

"We would like to take the opportunity to communicate a growing concern among our colleagues, that Apple's remote/location-flexible work policy, and the communication around it, have already forced some of our colleagues to quit," they said in the letter.

"Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple."

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