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ECONOMY | 12-04-2024 14:17

Tech giant with 30,000 employees has no return-to-office policy

Software company Globant SA’s sleek office in downtown Buenos Aires are quite the attraction, but Chief Executive Officer Martin Migoya is choosing not to adopt a return-to-office policy for his nearly 30,000 employees across 33 countries.

Software company Globant SA’s sleek office in downtown Buenos Aires features open floor plans, curvy desks and sweeping views across the river to Uruguay. Employees can fire up the grill for some Argentine asado barbecue, play pingpong, hit the gym or even ride a mechanical bull. 

But workers don’t have to be there. Globant Chief Executive Officer Martin Migoya is choosing not to adopt a return-to-office policy for his nearly 30,000 employees across 33 countries, making the software giant one of the world’s largest tech companies by headcount to remain fully remote.

It’s not that Migoya doesn’t appreciate in-person work. He’s been adding office space post-pandemic and employees are coming back, he said in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. But it has happened “without putting a gun to the head of anybody,” he said.

Migoya said his initial impulse was: “Let’s make everybody come back.” But he’s settled on a softer sell that includes making offices more flexible and welcoming. “We found that people come, they get together, they use our offices in a different way, and we’ve been modifying our offices to attend to that new reality,” he said.

Migoya’s teams redesigned the offices post-pandemic, replacing individual desks with more round tables that fit several people, while creating extra lounge space and phonebooth-style work stations for private meetings.

Globant’s lack of return-to-office policy contrasts with the approach of Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp and Meta Platforms Inc, which have all adopted policies to bring employees back to their desks. Even e-commerce behemoth MercadoLibre Inc, which was also founded in Argentina, requires its managers to spend 20 percent of their time in the office per quarter, according to a spokeswoman. 

In the United States, where Globant has seven offices, businesses are seeing attendance rates at 63 percent of pre-pandemic levels. New York and Miami lead the pack, with levels near 80 percent. San Francisco lags behind other major US metro areas at 45 percent, according to Placer.ai’s Nationwide Office Building Index.

Globant, whose clients include the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, is in the early stages of hiring another 20,000 employees over the next five years as part of a US$1-billion investment. The company, headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, also continues to open up office space beyond its large hub in Buenos Aires. Last year, it inaugurated a location in Tandil, a farming town three hours south of the capital that had little tech presence before. 

“We have been very flexible; we will continue being very flexible,” Migoya said in the interview. “The office must be an attraction point for the people to get together, rather than just the desk in which you do your job. It’s a connection engine for the company.”

by Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg

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