Look inside Salesforce’s newly reopened San Francisco office with mandatory on-site COVID-19 testing and redesigned communal workspaces

Salesforce San Francisco

Salesforce reopened its San Francisco headquarters on Monday for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The company welcomed 100 vaccinated employees back to its freshly redesigned office.

The company is phasing the reopening of its offices. This means that buildings will gradually reopen from 20% to 75% capacity depending on COVID-19 data and local guidance. 

Fully vaccinated employees who are interested in returning to the office are allowed to volunteer to be part of groups of 100 employees or fewer who will work on designated floors in certain offices.

"We’re actively reimagining our lobbies, elevators, employee floors, conference rooms, and more to meet new protocols," a Salesforce spokesperson told Insider. "This includes social distancing as well as temperature screenings, required face coverings, regular and frequent deep cleaning, manual contact tracing, and more."

But employees don’t have to return to the office at all. The company announced a hybrid work plan in February that allows employees to work fully remote, one to three days per week in the office, or in the office.

Salesforce told Insider that flex work, a combination of time in the office and remote, will be the default for most roles. The company anticipates a majority of employees will come into the office at least some of the time. An employee survey indicated that at least 80% of workers wanted to be in the office sometimes and that they’re "hungry for the connection, camaraderie and innovation that comes from gathering in person."

Insider got a look inside Salesforce’s newly redesigned San Francisco office space. Read below to see how the software giant is bringing employees back to work. 

The lobby in Salesforce’s San Francisco office has a "welcome back" sign with directions to help employees social distance.

Upon entering the building, employees walk a guided path through the lobby like the security line at an airport. Once through, they are offered masks and go through a screening process. Many floors have been redesigned to have more social and breakout space, and the offices have a number of new policies meant to maintain safe and sanitary working conditions.

Every office looks a little different, but all of them have new lobby layouts and procedures.

Salesforce is using Work.com to manage employee scheduling and space usage.

Salesforce is using its own Work.com platform to schedule shifts for employees, manage floor capacity, and avoid bottlenecks. The platform also administers digital wellness assessments, entry credentials, and contact tracing.

Salesforce is making masks available to employees onsite.

A sign reminds employees of the mandatory twice weekly COVID testing offered in the office.

Everyone going to the office right now is part of what the company calls its "Voluntary Vaccinated Cohort." The company does not require vaccination. All workers have agreed to follow updated health and safety procedures, including COVID testing twice a week.

Salesforce has safely reopened over 20 offices globally, including the US, Canada, Australia, and other parts of the Asia Pacific region. San Francisco headquarters and the Irvine, California offices are the two open in the US.

A sign reminds workers to yield to others and maintain a 6-foot distance in narrow hallways.

Salesforce emphasized that employees will have a learning curve as they adapt to working in this environment. The instructions and guidance around the office includes a thorough communications plan and signage around all floors.

Face coverings are required in the building at all times, except when employees are eating.

Many spaces have been converted to be more collaborative and social in their design and function.

Salesforce shared that it made a significant reduction in the number of desks in favor of more booths, cafes and communal tables, couches, whiteboards, mobile audiovisual equipment, and more.

Not all Salesforce locations have temperature screening, but where it is available, it can serve as a warning sign for potential symptoms of COVID-19.

The help desk is available to support any employee needs.

The help desk answers employee questions on how and where they can work and any procedures they might need to know moving around the office. It can also connect employees to supplies like face coverings, wipes, and more.

Salesforce redesigned its conference rooms to encourage collaboration, while simultaneously remaining socially distant.

Plexiglass between desks and an abundance of sanitizer and cleaning supplies help everyone keep the workplace safe.

Employees will have a touch-free experience on their way to desks, so they don’t need to touch door handles to open doors. 

Conference rooms have air purifiers, and their usage is monitored and managed through Work.com.

AI and automation are also enabling Salesforce’s return to work.

Automation for tasks around onboarding, managing distributed teams, and serving clients virtually are helping Salesforce employees and customers alike.

"With today’s hybrid work world, our customers look to us to power their businesses with new capabilities — digital channels, self-service portals, Einstein Bots, agent workflow and routing — to service their customers," said Clara Shih, CEO of service cloud at Salesforce.  

 

Salesforce’s vice president responsible for their "work from anywhere" model says his best advice for other companies is to experiment.

"Companies should ask themselves: ‘What are our core beliefs as a company, and have they changed in the last year? How might they change in the future? What experiments can we run to test these hypotheses, and how can we gather feedback from our employees to see what’s working?’" said Matt Artz, vice president of work from anywhere at Salesforce.

Aman Kidwai May 21, 2021 at 12:03AM

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