How remote work beyond the pandemic will impact the Bay Area
Salesforce was the latest Bay Area company to announce its workers could continue to work remotely after the pandemic. The growing trend is reimagining the typical workday and space, but how will it impact the greater Bay Area?
SAN FRANCISCO – Some Bay Area companies are rewriting the rules for how and where employees can work post-pandemic.
You’ve heard of working from home? San Francisco’s largest private employer, Salesforce, is now offering employees a “work from anywhere” option.
“An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks,” Salesforce’s President Chief People Officer Brent Hyder said in a blog post.
Salesforce is the latest company to announce such changes.
When Hewlett-Packard Enterprise announced it was moving its headquarters from San Jose to Austin,Texas, the company also said it would be offering a new flexible work options for employees.
“The impact could be on the office market but not on the overall economy ’cause I think most of the people will want to remain in the area,” said Stephen Levy, the Director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “I don’t expect everybody to work remotely because there are difficulties. But the policy itself has positive. It opens up options to people.”
Salesforce is offering employees three options, ranging from fully remote to those who work more traditionally in the office for five days.
The “flex” option is expected to be what most employees will work when safety allows, where employees are in the office between one and three days per week for meeting, presentations, and collaborations.
Salesforce says it’s also redesigning workspaces, saying the “hybrid workstyle” is in and the “sea of desks” is out.
A survey from the sf.citi.org found 63% of companies plans to downsize or has already done so, adding that commercial real estate firm Cushman Wakefield says there’s about 14 million square feet of vacant office space in San Francisco, which is equivalent to 10 Salesforce towers.
In the South Bay, the owner of Vito’s Trattoria restaurant near the San Jose airport says weekday corporate business is down 90%.
“Monday through Thursday lunch, we would average 74 customers per shift. Currently during these conditions, we’re averaging 13 people,” said owner George Nobile.
The restaurant sits in the shadow of the Qualcomm building.
“The work from home is really affecting the lunchtime business because people just aren’t here in the buildings to go out to lunch,” said Nobile.
The restaurant owner has laid off 75% of his staff but is vowing to rebuild, saying the only thing he looks forward to these days is being able to say he survived the whole pandemic.