- Spotify employees will have the option of working full-time from home, the company's offices or a combination of the two under a new flexible work model set to debut in the summer of 2021, the company announced in a Feb. 12 blog post.
- Dubbed "My Work Mode," the program will allow employees to make a decision together with their managers about the exact degree of home and office work the employee will complete, Spotify said. The company also said it will allow more flexibility in terms of which countries and cities employees may work from, although it will place some limits to account for time zone difficulties and regional entity laws during the initial roll-out.
- If employees choose a location that is not near a Spotify office, the company will provide them a co-working space membership if they want to work from an office, per the announcement. The program is part of Spotify's transition toward "becoming a flexible/distributed-first company," it said.
Hybrid work — perhaps a futuristic concept more than a year ago — has been pushed to the forefront of the HR conversation in 2021. Consultancies including Gartner have gone so far as to say that hybrid workforce strategy will be a key factor in HR planning this year, with the pandemic encouraging organizations to re-evaluate their approaches toward flexibility in the workplace.
Employers themselves are saying as much. Mercer survey data released in August 2020 found more than 80% of company respondents were considering flexible work at a scale greater than they had before the pandemic, and 73% planned to make the cultural changes necessary to embrace hybrid work.
The roll-out of such policies has not been uniform, however. Google's hybrid work policy applies only to some categories of employees and will still require those employees to come to the office for at least part of the workweek, according to a late 2020 announcement from CEO Sundar Pichai. Google also will only permit employees to live within commuting distance from their assigned offices, according to reports, which contrasts with the more fluid plans of companies like Spotify.
Hybrid work decisions need to take into account a variety of factors, sources previously told HR Dive, especially cultural concerns. Forty-one percent of employees who work from home said they were frequently dissatisfied with the experience, according to a study published last month by office manufacturer Steelcase, with more than one-third of those working full-time from home reporting a sense of isolation.
Technical requirements also may be a logistical hurdle. IT services company 1E said in a January report that a survey of IT managers found 36% of employees were experiencing additional technical issues while working from home, and 30% said they were concerned about IT's ability to support them during the experience.
From the compensation perspective, the movement of employees to different locales could trigger important tax and compliance obligations, although employers will likely make pay adjustment decisions on a case-by-case basis, consultants previously told HR Dive. Employers may be more likely to set pay based on the need and demands of a particular role rather than where an employee is based. But employers like Facebook have already made it clear that employees who move to locations with a lower cost of living could be paid less.
Spotify, in its statement, acknowledged the need for "labour law, tax and insurance readiness" when implementing hybrid work, but the company also emphasized the advantages a more flexible approach can bring. Trust, communication, collaboration and connection all factored into the decision to launch "My Work Mode," the statement added.
"Part of our DNA has always been controlled chaos," Spotify said. "So, in the spirit of this, we're trying this out knowing that there are likely to be some adjustments to make along the way. By experimenting and unlocking all talent we also enable diversity and inclusion, and making new jobs and markets available."