Journal of Systems and Software,
2022 · doi: https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2203.11136
In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced employees in tech companies worldwide to abruptly transition from working in offices to working from their homes. During two years of predominantly working from home, employees and managers alike formed expectations about what post-pandemic working life should look like. Many companies are currently experimenting with new work policies that balance both employee- and manager expectations to where, when and how work should be done in the future. In this article, we gather experiences from 17 companies and their sites, covering 12 countries. We share the results of corporate surveys of employee preferences for working from home and analyse new work policies. Our results are threefold. First, through the new work policies all companies are formally giving more flexibility to the employees with regards to working time and work location. Second, there is a great variation in how much flexibility the companies are willing to yield to the employees. The variation is related both to industry type, size of the companies, and company culture. Third, we document a change in the psychological contract between employees and managers, where the option of working from home is converted from an exclusive perk that managers could choose to give to the few, to a core privilege that all employees feel they are entitled to. Finally, there are indications that as the companies learn and solicit feedback regarding the efficiency of the chosen strategies, we might see further developments and changes of the work policies with respect to how much flexibility to work whenever and from anywhere they grant. Through these findings, the paper contributes to a growing literature about the new trends emerging from the pandemic in tech companies and spells out practical implications onwards.