Software group SAP adopts flexible working, by popular demand


FILE PHOTO: The logo of German software group SAP is pictured at its headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Business software group SAP is adopting flexible working for its 100,000 employees around the world, after the experience of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic drew overwhelmingly positive feedback.

The group, headquartered in Germany, said internal polling found that 94% of staff wanted to take advantage of greater working flexibility, while nearly half planned to work in the office for one or two days a week in the future.

"It gives employees 100% flexibility," Julia White, SAP's recently appointed chief marketing and solutions officer, told Reuters in an interview.

White, who was 'onboarded' remotely in the United States, only met Chief Executive Christian Klein and other top managers face to face last week on her first visit to Germany since joining from Microsoft in January.

And, while getting to know co-workers personally is vital, White also said that, as a single mother, she valued the flexibility that enables her to meet both her professional and personal commitments.

In an email to staff on Tuesday, SAP said it was adopting a "flexible and trust-based workplace as the norm, not the exception".

Employees will be able to work from home, at the office or remotely, and it will be possible for them to set flexible schedules. The company will redesign its offices to make more space for teamwork and collaboration.

SAP's decision to make flexible work its policy follows moves by some technology companies, including Facebook, to permanently adopt remote work even after coronavirus lockdowns ease.

Its "pledge to flex" seeks to account for the range of preferences expressed by staff, with 16% saying they would like to work only remotely while 6% planned to come in to the office five days a week.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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