It’s a sign that the pandemic is reshaping the workplace. Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney plans to allow 80% of its office employees to work remotely.
“With the pandemic virtually overnight we changed, we had to change the way that we worked,” Jennifer Caruso, vice president of Transformation for Pratt & Whitney, said.
The decision to allow nearly 7,000 employees to work remotely either full- or part-time is being piloted by Pratt & Whitney at their East Hartford headquarters.
“Our new campus is going to be a bit more condensed than what it is today and it is greatly increasing the amount of collaboration space,” Caruso said.
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She said technology will play a big role in the new office space to accommodate those who will be remote.
“We’re creating high quality office spaces that our employees have been asking for, while also empowering our workforce with the flexibility to work, learn, develop and grow without having to be in the office five days a week,” Caruso said.
The benefit for employees is more flexibility. The benefit for the employer is access to talent.
“It also opens the geographic aperture for recruiting and retaining top talent,” she added.
“A hybrid workstyle is something that maybe previously wasn’t that embraced or planned for but is now moved to the forefront,” Michael Pelletier, managing principal for digital at CLA, said.
He said he’s personally adopted a hybrid model where he works from home Monday and Friday and is in the office or meeting with clients Tuesday through Thursday.
There’s physical separation. He has an office in his basement and a 13- and 15-year-old who want to be left alone. But he sees the challenge for parents of younger children.
“You’re a little bit more tolerant of somebody saying hold on a second while they go and have a conversation with their kid who needs you know whatever,” he said.
He said remote work is likely here to stay.
“I think there are going to be some changes that get made to work spaces to support things like hoteling. Maybe you don’t need a desk everyday, maybe you have a shared desk,” Pelletier said.
According to Microsoft's 2021 report, 66% of businesses said they were considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
“I expect that there’s going to be more technology in meeting rooms so that they support more eye-level cameras,” Pelletier said.