Dropbox is making its workforce “virtual first”. Here it means

Of the company About 3,000 employees will continue to work remotely most of the time, but will occasionally go to the office for more collaborative and team-building work. To help facilitate this, the company will revamp its offices, calling them “Dropbox Studios”.

The company will remove personal desks and create more space for collaboration.

Melanie Collins, vice president of people, said, “People doing daily work, whether from home or from co-working places.” “[Dropbox Studios] Really clearly are for things like strategy setting, team building, community events, leadership development training. ”

The company decided against a hybrid approach, which would allow workers to choose when and when they were in office because it was feared that it could potentially create an uneven playing field among workers, Collins explained.

Read CNN Business’s full interview with Collins about this switch below.

(Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity)

What will the future of work look like for Dropbox employees?

In short, Dropbox is becoming a virtual first company. This means that remote work is the primary experience for all our employees globally. Because we know that human relations is still important in terms of building high-performing teams, we will invest in collaborative spaces designed for team-gathering and community-building, rather than a collection of desks that go every day. These will be called Dropbox Studios

Why is this a better approach to the hybrid approach?

Where do you want to work?

We assume that the virtual first is a more observable point on the remote task. This is different from what other companies are doing that is hybrid remote, which is really popular: this is where employees choose whether or not to work out of the office.

We had reservations on this model because it eliminates two different employee experiences, which may have resulted from things like inclusion or inequality in relation to performance or career trajectory and it was actually a non-starter for us . We really wanted to preserve this level of playing field, which we have all been experiencing since working remotely in the future of our model of work.

Will there be a scheduled event when people come to the office?

People doing personal daily work from home or co-working places. Dropbox studios are not for personal work, it is not for drop-in or desk hoteling. This is actually clearly for things like strategy setting, team building, community events, leadership development training.

Will you allow employees to move?

Yes of course Because of this model, remote work is the primary experience that actually gives people more freedom in terms of scheduling, but where they work. We will encourage people to move with this new model. We want them to work where it makes sense for them.

What would these new studios look like compared to the current office system?

Currently, our office locations are a mix of personal desks and meeting rooms and collaboration locations. We have rooms that are completely floor-to-ceiling white boards, large conference rooms and small conference rooms and a kind of mix. And so, if you can see the future, there is no more personal desk. Think that this is a whole space with many collaboration places.

How often will workers be called to office?

This is really for you to work in a rhythm with your team. For my team, for example, I want to bring my leadership team together a quarter of a time to do things like strategic leadership and team building. We will agree on which day we will meet in our studio studio for that event.

Are you going to reduce your real estate?

We are now working on finalizing our long term real estate strategy. We also plan for our team to work from home until at least June of next year so that we have little time to sort through it. But our goal is to support studios in all cities that we currently have a large concentration of staff, so it can remodel our current offices or invest in new or on-demand spaces that we can afford more. Take advantage while being delivered.

Is collaboration a pain point for remote workers?

I think the biggest problem with this is that we believe collaboration to be live or synchronized, so we just meet on another zoom call. This notion of zoom exhaustion is real – we make back-to-back calls eight or nine hours a day and result in burnout, which is an obstacle to getting work. So as we think about this axis as an orientation around remote work, we really want to rebuild our rhythms and social contracts. We really want to move our minds around work. This virtual first strategy gives us a chance to meet and develop better habits when and how.

Working from home is not for everyone

Transfers from Quick Live Sneaks, to go asynchronous by default. So in a meeting, trying to solve email or slack vs. tool problems. We are also giving clear guidance as to when the meetings should take place, guidelines for the meeting, what an email might be. And so meetings for things like complex problems or sensitive topics we want to empower our employees to get to work without the need to be on the zoom. And we also want to suggest how to use our various communication tools.

What does this mean for workers who do not want to work remotely?

There are some home setups that are simply not conducive to being able to do great work. We are basically going to take a flexible-first allowance and it enables people to deliberately make choices about how they want to spend that perk stipend. So if you want to spend in a co-working space, we will help that sponsor. It may not align to the preferences of employees. When they joined Dropbox, they did not join a remote company, so we are building this axis halfway and so we know it may not be for everyone and we understand and we The staff are hoping to give us a shot.


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