For the past several years, many of tech’s biggest companies spent billions of dollars building extravagant office spaces loaded with the finest amenities known to humankind. For example, Apple built Apple Park (a.k.a. the “spaceship”), a massive structure of curved glass, loaded with everything from cafés to wellness centers. In Virginia, Amazon is constructing a second headquarters, dubbed “HQ2,” that will rival its already-impressive original office complex in Seattle.
Smaller companies have also dedicated significant funding to crafting a high-end office experience. And why not? There’s a common belief that a cool office environment will help persuade the best talent to join the firm. Come for the beanbag chairs and the vintage arcade room, in other words, and stay for the stock options and late nights of coding.
But what if many technologists don’t want any of that? What if, instead of fancy amenities, they’d really prefer to work from home? Blind, which regularly conducts anonymous surveys of technologists, found that a majority of those working at some of the biggest names in tech actually favor remote work over the office:
Overall, some 53 percent of surveyed technologists preferred remote work; new hires were somewhat more amenable to the office environment, with 48 percent saying they were more inclined to remote work. Perhaps the sushi in the café and the on-site dry cleaning aren’t as attractive as hiring managers thought.
As companies wrestle with how to reintroduce workers to the office amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—or decide to largely abandon formal offices in favor of remote work for a majority of employees—technologists are also concerned about the new paradigms of work that are emerging. Blind asked its respondents whether the pandemic-driven “new work dynamics,” such as growing momentum behind work-from-home, will impact their careers. Here’s how they responded:
Although working from home poses some big risks for technologists, including the omnipresent dangers of burnout, it also offers some distinct advantages, including the immense amounts of money saved on commuting. The latest edition of Dice’s ongoing COVID-19 Sentiment Survey found that a substantial majority of technologists enjoy working from home (they also generally remain impressed with their companies’ response to the pandemic).
If companies follow the leads of Facebook, Twitter, and other firms that have decided to more fully embrace remote work, it will be interesting to see whether the tech industry’s dedication to significant in-office perks will continue. After all, there’s no point in investing in a glorious cafeteria or daily yoga classes if 80 percent of your workforce has never set foot in the office.