Zillow CEO Rich Barton has warned that a hybrid work model could lead to a two-class system of employees.
The pandemic has forced companies to reimagine the workforce, adapting to unprecedented conditions. As a result, more employees are working from home than ever before. Companies, especially in the tech industry, are increasingly adopting various forms of remote, flex, or hybrid work options permanently.
Barton, however, sees a risk of a dual-class system developing. This is especially a concern with hybrid work, where some employees are in the office and some remote, or where some workers only come in a day or two a week..
“We must ensure a level playing field for all team members, regardless of their physical location,” Barton said in an earnings call. “There cannot be a two-class system — those in the room being first-class and those on the phone being second-class.”
Other tech executives have similarly warned of the dangers of a hybrid workforce, with some companies going all-in on full remote as the solution.
Zillow CEO Rich Barton comments during Q4 Earnings Call:
Of course, there are challenges to not being in the office together, but that is temporal. In a post-COVID world, our workplace design goal is to maximize flexibility for our high demand talent. We will have awesome offices for those who want or need to come in. At the same time, we must ensure a level playing field for all team members, regardless of their physical location. There cannot be a two-class system, those in the room being first-class and those on the phone being second class. We are entering the most interesting and innovative period for workplace design in our lifetimes, and our people and facilities teams at Zillow are out in front.