CARMEL — With the COVID-19 vaccine distribution expanding in Indiana, companies are making plans to bring employees back to the office. However, some are choosing a different approach.
“We pretty seamlessly overnight moved thousands of people to their home base. What we found is that actually increased productivity for our company and for our clients,” Phillip Lewis, senior vice president and global head of industry at Aquent said.
Aquent is a workforce solutions firm that places talent at companies across the country. They also take work in-house and deliver on that work for clients.
The company has decided to let the leases expire on all 35 locations they have across the country, including one located in Carmel. They plan to invest the $600,000 they saved into their employees.
"We can re-invest those dollars in culture, community, and also focus on some of the things we care about to be the best employer for talent in our space,” Lewis said.
Lewis is based in Indianapolis and works with clients across the country. He explained the money will help enhance sick time, 401K and they will also put it towards social justice initiatives.
“Committing to some of those progressive causes as a company. That’s really where we’re spending a great portion of those dollars. To help again really be part of the change, but also to enhance our own workforce.” Lewis said.
Speedway resident Richard Burke was recruited by Aquent in January as he was looking for a new job. He now works from Hartford Healthcare in Connecticut from his home office.
“It's helped me not be so stressed out having to deal with 465, dealing with an hour getting into work an hour getting back home,” Burke said.
Burke does email marketing and engagement campaigns for the company. He said the most challenging part of working from home is finding a routine.
“When you are working remote it’s easy for your boss to say oh hey can I throw you in this meeting real quick, and it’s now 5 p.m. I should be shutting down, I should be leaving, should be picking up my daughter from daycare and turning my brain off,” Burke said.
He tries to start his day at 9 a.m. everyday, regardless if he has a meeting at that time and shut off his computer the same time he would if he was in an office. He says creating this routine helps him with his own mental health.
Despite this, he said there are a lot of benefits to working remotely.
“There is no reason why we can’t spend a few months down in Florida,” Burke said. He also has the flexibility to do housework or pick up groceries in his down time and work later if he chooses to.
Lewis points out that the move to companies embracing a work from anywhere policy is it creates opportunities for Hoosiers who have ties to Indiana.
“This brings new opportunities to Hoosiers who are landlocked because of family commitments schools or spouses,” he said. “It opens up a ton of opportunities to work for cutting edge companies doing meaningful work. We’re seeing a huge increase there. Our clients are really embracing any location.”