As COVID vaccinations increase and the number of cases decreases, San Francisco companies are reopening their offices. They are doing so, of course, slowly and with caution. Moreover, many companies are also opting for hybrid work, giving employees more flexibility. Let’s take a look at what going back to the office looks like for San Francisco companies.
San Francisco companies reopening offices
The State of California reopened back in July and most restrictions have been lifted in San Francisco, although specific businesses still require full vaccination and/or wearing masks. The Department of Public Health has also provided guidelines to safely return to normal activities.
Back to the office policies vary widely among tech companies, so we’ll give you an overview of what the leading companies in the industry are doing.
Among the companies that started coming back to the office in the last few months is Salesforce.com Inc, which started reopening back in April for vaccinated employees. It did so starting with a workforce of just 100. Facebook reopened the following month with 10% capacity, but has now held off on further progress for a few months.
Apple, on the other hand, has pushed back its plans to get employees in the office at least three times a week to January of 2022 due to the Delta variant. Amazon and Uber have made similar decisions.
When it comes to Google, they have implemented a voluntary return-to-the-office policy until January, requiring all returning employees to be fully vaccinated.
Other companies, such as DoorDash and Adobe, will require employees to spend half their time at the office and the other half working remotely. Adobe has already opened its offices at 50% capacity while DoorDash will be implementing its plans early next year.
Finally, companies such as Grammarly, Slack, Twitter and Dropbox are focusing on a mostly or completely remote work experience. Twitter actually reopened its San Francisco headquarters back in July to swiftly close them once COVID cases started surging again. It has now vowed to let employees work from anywhere forever.
What reopening looks like
As we’ve seen, San Francisco companies have taken different approaches to reopening their offices, but we would like to focus on a particular company that has greatly adapted to the challenges the COVID pandemic has posed.
Fast has a 10,000 square feet office in San Francisco and started the reopening process with 10 on-site employees last July (out of a workforce of 228). In-office employees must be vaccinated, but are not required to wear masks. Fast does not force its staff to get vaccinated, but won’t allow unvaccinated employees back to the office or at company functions.
Fast went fully remote during the pandemic, hiring talent remotely, and its staff is currently spread around the globe. Although 86 of the company’s employees still reside in the Bay Area, Fast has decided to give them the choice to work at the office or from home.
The current setup makes for a quieter office and Fast is still adjusting to the new dynamic but seems to have succeeded in creating a healthy and safe work environment for all.
As we’ve seen above, hybrid work (i.e., splitting time between remote and on-site work) seems to be the most popular option for tech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hybrid work has been proven to increase productivity and often save employees a considerable amount of time they would usually spend on their commutes. It also makes it easier to implement social distancing and balance work and personal life.
The hybrid model also allows companies to hire talent from around the globe and works wonders for employee retention.
Of course, this sounds wonderful in theory, but it definitely has its challenges. Companies choosing to turn to a hybrid work model should make sure to consider employee needs, build an infrastructure that supports remote work and invest in company culture.
Final thoughts on reopening San Francisco companies
Although San Francisco companies are reopening their offices, it is clear that this will be a slow and complex process. Moreover, they will probably not return to their usual work dynamics, with many tech companies opting for a safer and more productive hybrid work model. We’ll have to wait a few more months to see this fully implemented but, hopefully, 2022 will bring more stability.
If you are planning to reopen your business or offices, you can get the necessary information and resources from the City and County of San Francisco here.