While the hybrid work model has emerged as one of the most distinguishing factors of the post-pandemic workplace, Zillow CEO Rich Barton notes a potential downside to this arrangement.
Barton said that, while the online real estate firm has successfully operated as a “cloud-headquartered company”, this model could present some problems within the workforce.
“We must ensure a level playing field for all team members, regardless of their physical location,” said Barton. “There cannot be a two-class system — those in the room being first-class and those on the phone being second-class.”
It’s true that unintended bias in the workplace could lead in-office employees to be viewed as more engaged, productive and committed than those who work from home.
Sid Sijbrandij, CEO of GitLab, also said that a hybrid model is “the worst of both worlds” and warned that those who work remotely may not be “proactively integrated into the fabric of the company.”
Sijbrandij believes that the best solution is an entirely remote workforce, which GitLab has operated with since its founding 2011.
Other major tech companies like Google have also announced that they would be adopting hybrid arrangements. However, Google CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized that the office will remain important to everyday operations.
Prior to the pandemic, Zillow was historically anti-remote work due to the fear that collaboration and culture would take a hit. In July, the company announced it would allow around 90% of its staffers the option to work from home at least part of the time.