Company with hundreds of East Moline employees makes work from home permanent

The East Moline office closure comes as some companies choose to work from home permanently
Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Aquent IT Solutions has roughly 300 employees based out of their East Moline office, according to Senior Vice President Phillip Lewis. Although the East Moline office will soon no longer exist.

“What we are really doing is we are releasing all the leases that we have in our 35 physical locations, we’ll keep about 10% of our space so that people have places to go and have like a hub and a community, but we’ll really be working remotely in most of our situations,” Lewis said.

In a December survey from the Pew Research Center, the most popular reason people are working from home is that it’s more preferred. The next two popular options being concern over COVID-19 and childcare responsibilities. Lewis believes the method is preferred as it allows more flexibility.

“We’re embracing this non-conventional work schedule so that working parents or people that have other things happening in their lives, really it’s about getting the work done at an optimal level regardless of the hours they are actually working,” Lewis said.

The change is also allowing for a less restrictive recruiting process for new employees.

“I’m able to do really cool meaningful work for companies on the East Coast, on the West Coast, in Canada, the UK, Japan, based out of Indiana,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the money saved from not having to own or rent physical office space allows for better benefits for employees.

“What we’re doing with those additional dollars to help enhance that is we’ve rolled out sick time leave for any person in any location regardless of what the local laws are, every town will have additional sick time, we’ve invested in our 401(k) match, lifelong learning opportunities, things of that nature,” he said.

Although the majority of US employees won’t be making the jump anytime soon, 62% of employees in the same study said they can’t do their job from home, including many in lower and middle-income jobs. There are also new challenges going fully remote, such as maintaining culture and welcoming new hires.

“That is the downside right so there are some of these dollars that we are saving on real estates and investments and things we’re really kind of pushing towards— we’ve hired a head of community and culture,” Lewis said, “If you’re looking to just save the money then you’re going to have a culture collapse so you really have to reinvest that money to make sure that the culture and the community rise with the organization.”

In the end, Lewis thinks the work-from-home lifestyle will make things easier.

“We find that you can actually increase productivity and have a well-balanced life, work becomes more intentional,” Lewis said.

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