My employer has teased an unveiling of formal “work from home” policies for months now but all that information went live last week on an internal web site for employees. I can imagine this was a tremendous amount of work given we have studios and locations across the continents, with different labour laws, and a multitude of considerations for every workplace.

One of the things my employer did was take every location and defined a “geographical market pay zone” around it. It’s essentially a border defining an area where compensation for a job is similar within that area, also factoring in things like cost of living and housing to a certain degree. I’ve looked at many of the maps and there is some latitude given to the cost of living for sure. In the above example, the map shows the area for our Vancouver locations, which are clustered close enough to just need one zone.

So what is this zone used for? I’m gonna skip a lot of the little details but this is used for people who are transitioning to some form of remote work going forward. This applies to people who are going to almost exclusively work from home and also people who will now have a hybrid schedule, working from home a few days of the week and also coming into a studio for the rest of the week.

The zone determines if the company deems it necessary to alter your compensation, benefits and even potentially your tax situation, depending on whether or not you will be living inside or outside the zone. If you’ll be living within the zone, as long as you have manager and VP approval for either fully remote or hybrid remote work, nothing about your compensation or benefits change. If you’ll be living outside the zone, depending on where that is, you’ll need approval for that, and then most likely a change to compensation, benefits, and perhaps tax situation.

Looking at the Vancouver area zone, it’s fairly generous. Much of the more populated areas of Vancouver Island are included and even some of the lesser populated too. There are interior coastal regions included like Sechelt and even Powell River by the looks of it. Out east, it goes even as far as Hope. To the north, one may live in places like Whistler and Pemberton without an issue.

From a personal point of view, I’ll be applying for the hybrid model as I don’t think I could go back to working at the studio every single day of the week indefinitely. We’ve been told we have to come up with an agreement with our business unit on what type of schedule will work for an individual. Some roles might require one week on-site and then the next week will be remote, with some form of alternating being used. Other roles might have the same schedule every week but say Mondays and Fridays spent doing remote work.

My preferred schedule, at least initially is to be only at the studio two days a week. I don’t even know if this is possible but I will discuss this with my manager. I think this will be fascinating in the next year or so as people figure out how they want to work in the future. What will teams look like going forward? Which of my co-workers will I only see on Zoom, even when our locations open up again? Exciting time ahead.

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