On Friday, Spotify announced its new work-from-home program that lets its 6,550 global employees choose how they want to work at the company — either in an office, remotely, or at a coworking space that the company will pay a subscription for.
Employees have to commit to an option for one year at a time, and have their manager’s approval. But other than that, all employees need is their laptop and internet access.
Executives from the streaming giant say this is the future of work.
A number of major companies have shifted to more permanent remote-work policies since the coronavirus pandemic upended traditional work culture. At Facebook, employees who are “experienced” can work from home if their manager allows it, according to CNET. And at Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey sent an email to employees saying that workers who don’t have to work in an office to perform their job function can work remotely. Salesforce recently unveiled it’s own work-from-anywhere policy for employees, too.
Spotify will continue to pay at San-Francisco or New York salary rates, based on the type of job. This is in stark contrast to Facebook and Twitter, who have both said they will cut employee salaries for those who choose to relocate away from their offices in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area.
Spotify will also be redesigning many of its offices to accommodate employees’ preferences for quiet spaces, shared-desk spaces, and lounging areas.
Spotify’s Travis Robinson, head of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, said the move will promote work-life balance, employee happiness, and inclusion.
For one, it’s going to help the company attract talent regardless of geographic location.
“Most of our offices are in large cities like New York, London and Stockholm, but we know that moving to or staying in these cities isn’t always realistic – or attractive – to potential employees,” Robinson said.
He offered the example of an employee who needs to move back home to be a caregiver for an ailing parent.
“This is an opportunity to scrap the idea that big cities are the only places where meaningful work can happen because we know first-hand that isn’t true. We want employees to come as they are, wherever they are and whatever their circumstances are,” he said.
The new program will also promote pay equity.
“Black employees historically have been discriminated against when it comes to pay and growth opportunity, and it is likely the local market pay is lower than a comparable city with a large white population,” Robinson said.
In other words, local-market rates are no longer a disadvantage for people living in non-major markets.
Of course, there will be challenges managing a hybrid workforce of in-person and virtual workers. But Robinson said the pandemic has given the streaming service experience in making sure virtual workers feel included in meetings, employee resource groups, and company events.
According to Robinson, Spotify’s new work setup will not only benefit its employees, but it’s listeners, indirectly.
“With even more diverse experiences and perspectives, spread across additional communities, we have the opportunity to bring more stories to life, through original content and other curated audio experiences that resonate culturally,” he said.