CRM software firm Salesforce has outlined how it is undergoing a ‘global reopening’ in its offices, with a 3-stage approach, including new strategies like Volunteer Vaccinated Cohorts. Brent Hyder, president at Salesforce, offers a guide on how one of the biggest players in digital is adapting to the ‘new normal’.
It’s hard to believe that a year ago we were just beginning a journey that would forever alter our future. The way we live and work has changed dramatically. We’re now delivering customer success, operating our business, delivering employee success and working more sustainably — all from anywhere. And we’re not going back to the way it was. We’re in a new world and Salesforce is uniquely positioned to be a leader in this world by using our own technology like Work.com and our expertise. We have an opportunity to create a workspace and an employee experience that makes us even more connected, healthy, innovative and productive.
Last month, we shared our vision for work in this new digital-first world. And now, we’ve reached another important milestone in our journey: reopening our offices in the U.S. and around the world.
The global reopening involves three key new strategies:
- Volunteer Vaccinated Cohorts. Fully vaccinated employees will be able to volunteer to join groups of 100 or fewer people to work on designated floors in certain offices, starting with Salesforce Tower San Francisco, Palo Alto and Irvine.
- Staged Reopening. Offices will gradually reopen from 20% to 75% capacity, depending on the COVID data rating and local guidance — welcoming both vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees back to the office.
- Fully Open. Offices will reopen up to 100% capacity. Vaccinations will still be encouraged and testing will be available where possible.
Our first U.S. office reopening will be Salesforce Tower San Francisco, our headquarters and largest presence, in May. As part of our ongoing commitment to the Bay Area, we’re also donating $1.5 million to address homelessness. At the same time, we’ll open our offices in Palo Alto and Irvine, Calif, with more in the coming months. Yet regardless of whether a local office has reopened, we’re now extending the option to all of our employees to continue working from home through at least December 31, 2021.
While we’re excited for this next phase, this is not the beginning of our reopening journey. We’ve already safely opened 22 offices — including two in Israel today — using our Success from Anywhere return-to-work model. And since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve safely had business-critical employees onsite to keep our operations running successfully. Now we’re using those learnings to inform our reopening efforts in the U.S. and in other parts of the world — not just at Salesforce, but to help our customers and other organizations looking to safely reopen.
In Sydney, for example, we welcomed back hundreds of employees safely and productively, starting in August 2020. This has been teaching us a lot about this new way of working:
- Thursday is the New Monday. The most popular day for employees to come to the office is Thursday. Employees prefer to start the week from home with only about half of collaboration space being used. By Wednesday and Thursday, that jumps up to 80%.
- More flexibility leads to more productivity and balance. Employees are 16% more likely to agree they are more productive at home, and 13% more likely to agree that their teams are more productive at home than in the office. And they have more balance while they do it — 20% of employees at home are more likely to integrate wellbeing breaks into their day than employees in the office.
- The office is a place for human connection and collaboration. In the Sydney office, 64% of collaboration spaces like lounges and conference rooms were utilized; whereas only 24% of desk space was used. And employees working in the office were 19% more likely to have connected socially with a colleague compared to those working from home, leading to a stronger sense of belonging.
Through ongoing employee feedback and observations, we’re creating the workplace of the future — one that allows us to be more connected to each other, find more balance between work and home, and advance equality — ultimately leading to increased innovation and better business outcomes. Here’s how we’ll do it:
The Salesforce Approach to Reopening
Nothing is more important than the trust of our employees, customers, partners, and communities, and our reopening strategy is centered around trust and transparency. We’re prioritizing health and safety, and taking a science-based staged approach to ensure all of our stakeholders feel secure, supported, and safe in our offices and surrounding communities.
With a broad global footprint, we’re looking at each location uniquely based on government guidance, input from public health officials and medical experts, insight from our local leadership team, and a COVID risk rating, which is a comprehensive analysis of local case and testing data. Reopening will not look the same everywhere, and we’re implementing new strategies to safely give our employees the connection and collaboration they need to be successful.
As part of our strategy, we’ll be introducing Volunteer Vaccinated Cohorts in select U.S. offices, starting with Salesforce Tower San Francisco, Palo Alto and Irvine. To start, fully vaccinated employees will be able to volunteer to join groups of 100 or fewer people to work on designated floors in certain offices, following safety protocols and health mandates. We’ll have onsite COVID testing that will be mandated twice weekly, as well as COVID health officers to assist employees and ensure we’re following COVID safety measures.
In our Phased Reopening stage, offices will gradually reopen from 20% to 75% capacity, depending on the COVID data rating and local guidance. In this stage, we will welcome both vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees, and we will continue to follow safety protocols and provide testing where possible. Today, 17 of our offices globally are open in this stage — most of which are in Asia Pacific.
The third stage will be a full office reopening with up to 100% capacity. Vaccinations will still be encouraged and testing will be available where possible. We currently have five offices open in this stage, including Sydney. Throughout each stage, we will follow Salesforce’s ethical considerations for employers.
With the support of the Salesforce platform, we will be running this process seamlessly, and will do so for our customers as well. For example, through Work.com, our suite of products for the new hybrid work world, we can manage capacities to account for things like physical distancing and elevator bottlenecks. And employees will use Work.com to complete daily required health attestations in order to schedule time to come into the office.
When employees arrive at their workplaces, they’ll find redesigned lobbies, elevators, conference rooms, and more collaborative spaces. This includes rearranged furniture, new signage, touch-free handles and sensors, plexiglass between desks, temperature screening stations (where applicable), air purifiers in conference rooms, and an abundance of cleaning products including hand sanitizer.
This strategy is not something we want to own ourselves. We’ve created a playbook to help other companies start to welcome back their employees as well. It will take global cooperation, collaboration, and agility to continue to move forward.
Flex Forward to Success From Anywhere
While our offices will remain an important part of our strategy as we reopen, the office is no longer at the center of our work day. Just as we flexed when we moved our offices to our homes, we’re encouraging all employees to Flex Forward to a new, better way of working — we’ll put Who, What, and Why before Where work happens, whether that be in an office, at a customer site, or in a cafe.
That’s what Success From Anywhere is all about — succeeding together in a human-centered, digital-first environment. Everyone can finally work where, when, and how they’ll make the most impact.
We never could have predicted a year ago that this would be our future, but we’re excited about the possibilities in this new world. New ways of working, new ways of connecting, new ways of advancing our culture by helping our customers, taking care of our employees, serving all of our stakeholders and creating success from anywhere. That’s our future of work — and it’s only the beginning.
By Brent Hyder
President and Chief People Officer