Webinar Recap: How People, Places, and Data Come Together

Flexibility is the status quo, and it requires great management

Data from WFHResearch.com shows that work-from-home days have stabilized at around 28% of working days in 2023. After a slight drop in the past two years, flexibility is now stable, and we can say it’s definitely the new normal.

But studies and data show that while office-based managers were comfortable managing based on inputs like attendance and visibility, the distributed, flexible workforce needs output-driven performance management as the precondition for success.

What used to be a nice-to-have in terms of leadership and management is now a critical skill companies and leaders need to pay attention to and invest in.

“Better management is managing outputs and impact instead of monitoring. Coming in with that type of empowerment and enablement has worked for us. We have a tool that is a team charter where we go through those with team members. And we say, What is your best work style? What are your best working hours? You're all over the world. How do we get to the outcomes that we wanna drive?” - Cara Brennan Allamano, CPO, Lattice

Giving teams decision-making authority on workplace policies

Pre-pandemic, Okta had only about 10% of remote employees, whereas now they have a spectrum of workplace policies. They make decisions on business unit levels, so each unit can decide on a strategy that works best for their goals.

At Lattice, they’ve been remote-first since the pandemic, and although close to half of employees are out of their hubs in San Francisco, New York, and London, they haven’t pushed a company-wide decision on in-office days or a wider RTO policy.

Their Chief People Officer, Cara Brennan Allamano, says that for Lattice, the decisions they make are based on the infrastructure they built. For example, they’ve started using Gable, and this ability to bring people together in many different locations has created a different decision set for leadership, as they’re now able to encourage employees around the world to gather wherever they need to.

The data says around one-third of companies are pushing a top-down approach when it comes to workplace policies – Disney would be an example. But for the other two-thirds, policies depend on the company, business unit, team, or even job function.” - Nick Bloom, Stanford Economist & Future of Work Expert

Data: From real estate utilization to workplace impact

The data workplace leaders have looked at when planning real estate programs: utilization of existing spaces, headcount projections, and market supply. But in a distributed world, workplace teams need to look at new data that captures the impact and dynamics of flexible work.

At Okta, the workplace team is integrating real estate planning into their tight relationship with HR and Finance teams, and one of their goals for 2024 is to come up with a metric that will tie in utilization, employee experience, and retention together, to get a better understanding of the role real estate plays and look at that expenditure better.

We look at employee sentiment based on location, and it’s interesting to see engagement levels based on where employees are and how often they come together. Cultural differences play a role, too, and it’s fascinating to see in which locations people want to come together more.” - Cara Brennan Allamano, CPO, Lattice

For Lattice and their CPO, success is measured by a number of metrics: employee sentiment, satisfaction, and engagement are combined with business goals and how well an employee or team is able to achieve them consistently.

This information helps the companies make strategic financial decisions about workplace strategy that drive the future growth of the companies.

Headcount projections are an essential metric for workplace planning, but so is in-office cadence. We need to know what the expectations are for each business unit for in-office days, as it helps us plan. Gable is very helpful for us, as it lets us both plan and be flexible in locations where we don’t have offices.” - Shaun Lee, Director of Global Workplace Services, Okta

Predictions for the future

Stanford Economist & Future of Work Expert Nick Bloom shared his predictions about the future of work and its trajectory in the next five years based on the data he’s seen so far:

  • Flexibility is the new normal and will stay relatively stable in the next few years
  • Work-from-home will probably reach a level of around 30-35% of days
  • Technology will continue to evolve, making flexible work easier and better for everyone

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We’re excited to hear your policy, show you how others are tackling challenges are doing, and give you practical advice.
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Liza Mash Levin
CEO & Co-founder @gable