American Express Introduces Latest Workflex Twist

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek October 20, 2021
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Amex work flex at beach

​American Express is putting a creative twist on workplace flexibility that allows its hybrid, fully virtual and fully onsite employees to work up to four calendar weeks per year from a location other than their primary worksite, beginning next year.

The company's self-described Amex Flex Model is the latest example of how companies are rethinking how they will allow employees to function in a post-pandemic workplace.

Remote work isn't going away any time soon—if at all—according to a recent Gallup poll. Its September update of monthly employment trends found that 45 percent of full-time U.S. employees work from home either all (25 percent) or part (20 percent) of the time. In fact, U.S. workers in general could continue to work from home until spring 2022, which would mean two full years of doing so since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to USA Today.

Acknowledging that the pandemic has changed the traditional way of work, Amex chairman and chief executive officer Stephen J. Squeri outlined the workflex plan in an Oct. 18 memo to staff. The four weeks must be taken in calendar-week increments but do not have to be taken consecutively, and employees must consult with their supervisor about the timing of those weeks.

"I have updated the company's new way of working model to provide greater flexibility for colleagues while ensuring we preserve the important benefits of our special in-person culture," he wrote. "Ultimately, our goal is to achieve the best of both worlds—recapturing the creativity, connections, collaboration and relationship building of working together in person, while also retaining the flexibility and progress we have made together in this virtual world."

The company's "work from anywhere" component will be available to all employees except those whose jobs require them to be physically onsite, such as onsite security personnel. Jan. 24 is the earliest the plan will take effect, when a full return to the office in the U.S., U.K. and Germany is expected to occur, Squeri wrote. The full return to the office in other markets will occur at different times based on local conditions and regulations. 

SHRM Online collected the following news stories about how organizations are reimagining their workplace policies in a post-pandemic world. 

How PepsiCo Is Rethinking the Office: More Remote Work, No Assigned Desks

Under PepsiCo's new "Work that Works" plan, the office will no longer be the primary location for workers. There is no number of days employees need to be in the office nor a limit on days they can be remote. Staffers around the globe will decide with their managers which days they'll be in the office and when they'll be remote. Moreover, assigned seats and closed offices are things of the past.

"When we started to ask our employees about 'how are you thinking about coming back [to work]?'... contrary to much of the news you read, people were not asking us for remote. Our people were asking us for choice. They were like 'Give me the opportunity to decide where and how I do my work,' " Sergio Ezama, PepsiCo's chief talent officer and chief human resources officer, Global Functions and Groups, told CNN Business.

(CNN

How Companies Around the World Are Shifting the Way They Work 

The pandemic has triggered seismic shifts in how we work, causing many companies to transition from an office-centric culture to more flexible ways of working. This shift is largely still in the experimental phase, as businesses try to conceive of and test effective post-pandemic working models for their operations and staff.

(BBC)  

Google Delays Its Return-to-Office Plans Again, This Time Until January 2022

Google, which had announced that employees would work remotely until September, announced Aug. 31 that it had extended the work-from-home option through Jan. 10, citing an uptick in COVID-19 cases around the world. After January, its offices will determine when to end that option based on local conditions, according to news reports.

Employees will get at least 30 days' notice before they are expected to return to their office, but a return date was not specified. 

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Return to Work

As Offices Reopen, Hybrid Onsite and Remote Work Become Routine

Employees may be returning to worksites, but things will be different. Those who return to the employer's physical workplace are likely to find that office designs and routines have changed as businesses rethink the purpose and value of centralized work.

(SHRM Online)  

Reimagining the Post-Pandemic Office Experience

As companies begin their back-to-work transition, many are already rethinking their office design to better accommodate evolving employee expectations and the blend of remote and office workers. They're also focused on maintaining health and safety standards that will help prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall. While it's still early in this transition for many organizations, let's examine some of the trends and innovations that are reshaping the post-pandemic workplace. 

(LinkedIn

Remote Work Persisting and Trending Permanent

A new normal has settled in among workers who have grown accustomed to working from home—commuting less and enjoying improved well-being and flexibility. The good news for these workers, who overwhelmingly do not want to return to the worksite full time, is that their employers largely foresee making remote work a permanent offering, at least on a hybrid basis. Leaders and managers may recognize the many benefits of remote work.

(Gallup)

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