The technological impact of the pandemic has been devastating, and we have yet to understand the consequences. From online teaching (change in the way the teacher works) to smart working, in Italy – as in the rest of the world – the profound change in the approach to work is today only the tip of the iceberg of what is to come. The effects were measured immediately: according to a New York Times study, the consumption of sites such as Facebook, Netflix and YouTube increased by a range of 15% to 27% in the United States between January and March, while apps conferencing systems such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet are now in total use by over 200 million people .
The line that divides work from private life has become so blurred that for many it doesn’t even exist anymore. And this situation, in many cases, will last for months, years or even indefinitely . Among the Big Techs, Amazon has extended the work from home policy to all corporate employees until 2021 . Facebook and Google made a similar announcement for portions of the workforce, and Twitter gave work-from-home clearance with no time limit. In this new context, small companies, institutions and large corporations are re-evaluating the costs associated with the employee. Facebook has announced it will be hiring full-remote workers, but with wage adjustments based on the cost of living in the country and city of origin (and actual work). In this way it will be able to attract talent who otherwise would not have moved to California or one of the other offices around the world, while also optimizing costs.
Twitter employees will be able to work from home forever
Among the most important costs, there are also and above all the fixed costs relating to office rent, technical equipment, service and maintenance personnel, utilities. These are huge costs, which in times of pandemics are effectively eliminated, at least on a theoretical level. Companies and institutions have learned forcibly to migrate costs related to the workforce. One might think that a physical infrastructure is more important to support than a virtual one, but in many cases this is not the case. When moving from physical to virtual office, there are the costs of home equipment (laptops and monitors), an upgrade to work suites such as G Suite or Office, and maybe even a subscription to Software-as-a- Services such as virtual offices in 2D or 3D ( Sococo is an example, but there is alsoCoderblock , an all-Italian platform).
For example, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said in an interview on The Vergecast podcast that between March and April the company had to buy about $ 2 million worth of laptops and monitors for its employees because most (especially the sales team) only had large desktop computers in the office. And this is where the crux of the matter lies, the starting point for this season that has just begun: what can and must a company do to successfully migrate to an office-free facility?
To do this, you need a lot of data but also an outline of the concepts.
In general, a worker can be thought of as belonging to one or more categories of employers: the public administration , corporations , consulting firms and SMEs , and startups . Each of these categories has different rhythms and different needs: the Public Administration needs staff who relate to the public (who act as a counter, in short) and could automate many processes and make a large part of the workforce work from home. Corporations are generally quite slow , they have lots of authorization mechanisms, hierarchy as well as in PAs, but they can have work units that move fasteror simply independently , such as the research and development department and the sales department. Consulting firms and SMEs usually have a lean or very flexible structure , capable of withstanding frequent staff renewals and changes in strategy. Finally, startups are the leanest ever because they tend to have few employees (or just one), ideas that are unclear and therefore subject to change even from one day to the next.
Each of these realities has many facets, and it would be really complex to describe and compare them all. But there is a way to express how they could all change, telling the story of a single company, to be taken as a reference model: it was recently ranked by Fast Company as the thirtieth best workplace in the world in 2020, the first in Italy: Bending Spoons , the startup that developed Immuni , the contact tracing app still at the center of many discussions today .
Bending Spoons is not really a startup, but more of a scale-up,or a startup that has already distributed its products all over the world and is growing year by year. Bending Spoons isn’t the perfect company, of course. It is not the reference for any type of company, nor does it express the absolute truth about the practices that must be adopted. But, numbers in hand, it’s a great example to consider.
“Bending Spoons had a total turnover of around 90 million in 2019, before the commissions of the mobile stores”. Luca Ferrari , CEO of Bending Spoons, comments to La Stampa the thoughts he had following an AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything, ask me almost anything) of the startup on Reddit in which users, in addition to asking for explanations on the development and functioning of Immuni , they also asked for information on working life in the startup, in order to apply as developers or designers. Reading in the comments, there are plenty of compliments from users praising the startup regarding employee benefits, the selection process, salary and work organization.