Tech's Latest Perk: Never See the Office
Bloomberg Businessweek|March 08, 2021
Silicon Valley companies are wooing executives with the promise of remote work forever
Alistair Barr

When Cathy Polinsky was the chief technology officer at online clothing company Stitch Fix Inc. in San Francisco, her friend Dan Debow would often bug her about switching jobs. Debow, a vice president at e-commerce platform Shopify Inc., had long tried to persuade her to come work with him.

But Polinsky, 43, had family commitments keeping her in the Bay Area, so she always said no to moving to live near Shopify’s headquarters in Ottawa. Then, in May, Shopify went “digital by default,” letting all 7,000 employees work from anywhere indefinitely. “Dan told me about Shopify’s new initiative late last summer, and that’s what really kicked off the conversation,” Polinsky says. In January she joined Shopify as vice president for engineering, working from her home in California. One of her first steps was to launch a recruiting drive to hire more than 2,000 engineers in 2021. They’ll all be able to work from home permanently, too.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut offices around the world, tech giants and startups would compete to hire executives like Polinsky and their teams by offering perks including free gourmet food, ping-pong tables, and on-site doctors at gleaming Silicon Valley campuses. Now the battle for talent is going fully remote, with many companies granting top candidates permission to avoid the office altogether. Executive searches in the industry often don’t even mention the location of company headquarters, and some explicitly offer full-time remote work.

One typical listing, sent around by headhunter Richard Kolodny for an e-commerce company seeking a chief legal officer, reads: “TOP COMPENSATION PACKAGE. This position can be FULL-TIME REMOTE even after the pandemic ends.”

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