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Adobe announces permanent shift to hybrid work for its employees

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The Creative Suite publishers are the latest tech giant to embrace a new work lifestyle in the post-pandemic world.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Adobe has announced plans for its employees’ post-pandemic return to work, and its objectives put it alongside other tech giants that have embraced hybrid and remote work as the new normal.

Adobe EVP and Chief People Officer Gloria Chen, writing in a blog post, said that the pandemic made it clear that there was never going to be a return to the way things were, but that doesn’t mean the company won’t grow. “We saw an opportunity and need to reimagine the employee experience and develop a future of work approach that leverages the best of in-person and virtual interactions to foster creativity, innovation, and culture,” Chen said.

Adobe isn’t alone in its decision to permanently decentralize its workforce, at least part of the time. Salesforce decided to permanently let its employees work remotely, and Cisco recently announced similar plans as well. With Gartner predicting 51% of knowledge workers will be remote by the end of 2021 (nearly double the number from 2019), it’s likely that other tech companies will follow Adobe, Salesforce and Cisco into the sunset of the physical office.

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Adobe said it arrived at its decision to be hybrid based on cross-department and cross-location focus groups, employee interviews and employee surveys. All of that work led Adobe to conclude that hybrid work would be the best fit for its employees, but it’s not discounting the possibility of 100% remote work, either. 

By default, Chen said, flexibility will be an option for Adobe employees, who can choose to work remotely half time, and be in the office the other half. Meetings will be intentionally mixed-presence, with some workers being in the meeting room and some being virtual. In-person gatherings will be more purposeful and collaborative in nature, Chen said. 

Noting that one size doesn’t fit all, Chen also said that remote work at Adobe will expand to suit individual cases, for which the company has established criteria and guidelines fully remote employees will need to meet. Those guidelines are being tested in the U.S. now and will be rolled out to employees in the rest of the world later this year. All in all, Chen said, Adobe expects to double its remote worker population as it irons out the wrinkles in its new remote work policies. 

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Adobe offices around the world will begin opening this summer in the U.S., with global offices opening as local coronavirus situations improve. In order to facilitate permanently hybrid work, Adobe is also launching a new digital campus app called Adobe Life, which has specific digital campuses for each Adobe office location. Digital campuses, Chen said, serve “as a hub of curated news and information catered to their location including wayfinding, conference room bookings and pre ordering meals from the café.”

Chen also said that these changes are just the beginning, and that “[Adobe recognizes] that we have a lot to learn, and that evolving how we work will be a long-term transformation.” 

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