Uber employees working in the company’s physical offices must spend at least 50% of their time working in-office but can work the remainder of the time from a location of their choice, including their home, a relative’s home or other destination, Chief People Officer Nikki Krishnamurthy said in a June 29 blog post.
The announcement is part of the company’s broader adoption of hybrid work beginning in September. Under the model, employees can work as many as five days a week from home, depending on individual preference and team needs. Employees will also be able to choose their preferred office location, selecting from a list of hubs.
Uber is also developing a process for employees to work remotely full time and host some in-person meetings for remote employees once offices reopen. “We hope that this provides a chance to spend more time with family, an opportunity to explore new places, and a refreshing change of scenery,” Krishnamurthy said.
In the highly competitive technology sector, remote work has become central to the post-pandemic talent push. Uber is one of several organizations to embrace hybrid- and remote-work strategies that differ in their embrace of flexibility but are part of a clear trend toward increased worker choice.
Weeks before Uber’s announcement, Facebook said it would allow employees at all levels of the company to request the ability to work remotely, provided their role could accommodate it. In February, music platform Spotify announced its “My Work Mode” program, permitting staff to choose — in consultation with their managers — the degree to which they would work in either an office or from home. The company also said it would provide employees a co-working space membership if they chose to live in a location that is not near a Spotify office.
Other plans place restrictions on where employees may work. For example, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said the company will pilot a hybrid work model in which employees must work in an office at least three days per week but may work elsewhere for the rest of their week. Pichai also articulated a requirement that employees live “within commuting distance” of their assigned offices.
Across industries, the pandemic is set to impact HR’s perspective on flexibility beyond remote work alone. A recent Randstad study found more than half of employers provided some type of work-from-home support since the pandemic began, while 20% introduced flexible work hours. The majority of employees in the study, meanwhile, stated that they preferred a hybrid work environment.
Demand for flexible work is also altering other areas of employer initiatives. Consulting firm Gartner observed an influx of mental health and wellness additions to employee benefits packages early on in the pandemic, a trend that is likely to grow moving forward, sources previously told HR Dive.
Employers may need to be proactive about protecting employees from harassment and discrimination while operating in a hybrid or remote work environment on the compliance front. There may also be potential complications in tracking employee hours and dealing with the tax implications of employees who move to different states or localities while remote.