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The Return to Office: Actual Cases

Updated: Oct 31, 2023



Here are some actual cases of companies implementing return-to-office policies:


Return to office


OpenAI

"OpenAI seals deal for San Francisco office space after CEO Sam Altman calls remote work ‘experiment’ one of tech industry’s worst mistakes.", Fortune Oct 28, 2023


OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has leased two buildings from Uber in San Francisco. The deal is worth 486,600 square feet and will allow OpenAI to expand to more than 2,000 employees. This is the largest office lease in the city since 2018, and it comes at a time when many companies are reducing their office space or going fully remote. The deal is a sign of OpenAI's rapid growth and its commitment to in-person collaboration. CEO Sam Altman has said that remote work is not good enough for startups and that his company needs to be together in person to be creative.


Meta

"Meta employees are back in the office three days a week as part of new mandate", CNBC Sep 5, 2023


Meta has mandated its employees return to the office at least three days a week. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a flexible work policy in May 2022, allowing employees to work from anywhere. The new return-to-office directive took effect on Tuesday, Sep 5, 2023. The company believes that this hybrid model balances flexibility with in-person collaboration.


Amazon

"Amazon employees who refuse come into workplace 3 days a week can be fired: Report", USA Today Oct 23, 2023


Amazon has implemented a policy requiring employees to return to the office for at least three days a week. Those who refuse to comply may face termination. This decision reflects Amazon's belief in the importance of in-person collaboration. The company aims to balance remote work flexibility and maintaining office culture.


Zoom

"Even Zoom brought workers back to the office. Here's what it means.", ABC News Aug 10, 2023


Zoom has reintroduced its employees to in-office work, but the new policy specifically targets workers who live within 50 miles of an office. Despite its prominence in virtual meetings during the pandemic, Zoom values face-to-face interactions for specific tasks and team cohesion. This decision to adopt a hybrid work model, emphasizing online and physical work environments, mirrors a broader industry trend.


Tiktok

"TikTok is tracking employee back-to-office attendance with new internal tool called MyRTO", Insider Sep 16, 2023


TikTok has introduced "MyRTO," a surveillance tool to monitor its employees' return to the office. The move has sparked privacy concerns, as MyRTO tracks workers' location and activity during work hours. While the company claims to ensure safety and compliance in a post-pandemic work environment, critics argue it's an invasive approach to managing the transition back to in-person work.



These companies believe that in-person work boosts productivity in some roles. It also gives executives and managers more accessible opportunities to check in and assess what workers are doing. Some employers are seeing the benefits of returning employees to offices, not only collaborating about work and brainstorming ideas but also meeting for a cup of coffee and otherwise socializing.


Soma as a Solution

Is it possible to replicate the office experience while working remotely? Soma is a powerful space that can help companies keep remote work while providing employees with the benefits of a traditional office environment.

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Over the past two years, Soma has gone through numerous trials and errors to ensure that the behaviors and communication methods used in offline offices can be replicated in Soma as closely to real-life as possible. This has been achieved through the feedback and experiences of over 10,000 employee users across more than 450 companies.


Soma is designed to feel like a real office, which means there are opportunities for casual interactions throughout the day. For example, you might bump into a colleague in the hallway or pantry or see a few colleagues enjoying small talk nearby. Soma’s office space can lead to small talk, which can help build relationships and create a more social work environment.


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