Since joining Intel as chief people officer, one of my top priorities has been preparing our global teams for the future of work.
The pandemic compressed a decade’s worth of change into months. From a crisis came an opportunity to reimagine how we work and collaborate. At Intel, it’s meant creating our future as a “hybrid-first” company.
We are focused on providing a dynamic, flexible, and inclusive workplace that enables all our 110,600 employees to do their best work. We believe this approach will support our culture as a results-driven organization and enable our teams to execute with speed.
Reimagining How and Where We Work
Intel’s response to the pandemic has been grounded in data-driven decision-making and embracing uncertainty. While many companies quickly announced return-to-office timelines and models, Intel paused. We instead based our plans on local data and regulations for each site and continuously adjusted as we learned.
We took the same approach in the design of our future workplace. We surveyed employees around the globe and used data to inform everything, from shaping our working models to designing on-site collaboration spaces.
In an April 2021 survey, 90 percent of our employees shared that they preferred a hybrid workplace when their sites re-open. While we will continue learning and adapting as we go, we are looking to the future with three working models:
- Hybrid: The majority of employees will split their time between working remotely and in the office. We’re not mandating a single approach regarding the number of days per week all employees should be on-site or how people should collaborate. We are empowering teams to find the balance that drives results and achieves our business goals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for our global workforce.
- On-site: As a manufacturing company, some roles will always be “on-site” full time. This includes our employees who work in labs and factories that are critical to much of our world’s digital infrastructure. Hybrid-eligible employees will also have the choice to work primarily on-site if they prefer.
- Fully remote: We will also continue supporting a small number of employees who have been designated as fully home-based due to the nature of their work and generally attend Intel sites occasionally based on business need.
Our goal is to enable remote and on-site work where it drives the best output, while ensuring everyone has equitable access to the systems, resources, and opportunities needed to thrive. Over the past 20 months, we have learned we can be incredibly successful virtually, but we believe human connection fuels innovation.
We want employees and their managers to partner to determine the work location and model that drives the best results for their type of work. This might mean working from home to focus on a priority project or working on-site where the in-person use of upgraded collaboration spaces and new tools can be an asset. Connecting global teams across sites with enhanced one-touch video conferencing and center-of-room control captures the magic of face-to-face collaboration, sparking innovation and creativity.
While hybrid and flexible working models can cast a wider recruitment net and provide the flexibility many candidates seek, business leaders still face the challenge of ensuring that future model is inclusive and supports everyone long-term.
Recently, Intel commissioned an independent global study on inclusion in the future of work. The goal of the study was to understand how business leaders from around the world are thinking about creating equitable workplaces. We received responses from 3,000 business leaders from 17 countries. We’re using the data to help inform our planning – and today we’re sharing the global and regional findings publicly so others can reference and apply these insights into their own workforces. Findings include:
- The pandemic has helped advance diversity and inclusion (D&I) for some companies.
- 63% of respondents say the COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact on D&I in their organization, with 46% saying that remote work and digitalization has meant it’s easier to recruit employees from under-represented groups.
- However, the pandemic has negatively impacted underrepresented groups.
- 54% of business leaders cited employees with disabilities as the top underrepresented group that has left the workforce because of the pandemic, followed by female employees (38%) and parents (37%).
- Leaders cited navigating inclusion for a hybrid workforce as their current top D&I priority. They are focused on improving workplace culture in a few ways.
- 51% are focused on ensuring fair career progression for all employees, whether in-person or remote.
- 49% are focused on training/workshops for successful hybrid work.
- 40% are focused on supporting employees with disabilities.
Intel remains focused on keeping inclusion at the forefront of business planning. I’m working closely with Intel leaders like Dawn Jones, chief diversity and inclusion officer and vice president of social impact, to ensure employees most at risk aren’t left behind as we redefine where, when and how we work.
At the same time, ensuring diversity and inclusion are prioritized in the future of work is not a job for a single person or company. That’s why coalitions like the Alliance for Global Inclusion are key to convening the industry on key D&I issues and solutions.
Intel’s approach for the future of work is grounded in our belief that our people are our most important asset. While we know we don’t have all the answers for what will work best long-term, the data shows that many workers are looking for increased flexibility, and that’s why we’re leading with a hybrid-first approach. As we look to the road ahead, we will continue to prioritize and integrate diversity and inclusion into everything – our culture, systems, leadership expectations and performance metrics – to ensure our future workplace works for everyone.
Christy Pambianchi is executive vice president and chief people officer at Intel Corporation.