The Future of work at Adobe

Woman waving at laptop screen

I recently popped into our headquarters in downtown San Jose and was overcome with nostalgia that I can only compare to the feeling of seeing an old friend and picking right up where we left off, while simultaneously understanding that so much has changed since the last time we were together. The office looked like the same space we left behind in March 2020, but it was missing the most important thing that makes working at Adobe so special: our people.

Adobe’s people-centric culture has been the hallmark of our success since the company’s founding in 1982, and a primary reason why I’ve stayed at Adobe for over 20 years. Throughout my tenure, I’ve had the great pleasure of helping to lead Adobe through pivotal moments, like the shift from boxed software to cloud services and expanding into new markets, and now, our next transformation as we reimagine the employee experience at Adobe.

Last year, when it became clear that work was never going back to the way things were, we saw an opportunity and need to reimagine the employee experience and develop a future of work approach that leverages the best of in-person and virtual interactions to foster creativity, innovation, and culture.

A team composed of members from different functions came together to learn from the best of the last year and a half and set the vision for how we would work next. We conducted interviews and focus groups with hundreds of employees, managers and leaders across various locations, organizations, and tenure, and we regularly surveyed our global employee population, to draw a vast array of insights to both inform our plans and test our hypotheses to create a future model that would work best for Adobe.

The Future of Work at Adobe

Where we landed is this: The future of work at Adobe will be hybrid. Let’s break that down a bit further:

  1. Being digital-first will be critical: Digital transformation has fundamentally changed how people work. As the digital experiences company, we will double down on digital tools and workflows across the employee experience – from onboarding and career growth, to collaboration and community, to enable our people to be productive working wherever they are.
  2. Flexibility will be the default: Adobe employees will have greater flexibility to work from home or the office as it makes sense for the individual, the team and the business.
  3. We’ll gather for the moments that matter: We will have an intentional mix of physical and virtual presences, with in-person gatherings driven by purpose and designed for collaboration.
  4. Remote work will expand: While we believe in the value of in-person interactions, we know that in some cases, a remote work arrangement makes sense for Adobe and the individual. So, we’ve established criteria and guidelines on remote work, beginning with the U.S., then rolling out globally later this year. We expect to double the size of our remote worker population overtime as we learn and iterate on making this model successful.

We know one size doesn’t fit all. The pandemic shed light on the diversity of work experiences across teams and individuals, and as we begin to open our offices around the globe – beginning this summer in the U.S. and globally as local conditions improve – we’re empowering individuals and teams to figure out the working cadences that are best for them. When we say flexible, we mean flexible.

The Employee Experience Evolution

Adobe’s sweet spot is at the intersection of technology and creativity, so it’s only natural that we lean into our strengths to design the workplace of the future. Our aim is to provide an exceptional employee experience, regardless of location, and intentionally leverage the best of different workplace settings.

We recognize the work-from-home era isn’t necessarily reflective of the future, but there’s behavioral insight we can draw to inform how we work in this next chapter. For example, we’ve increasingly traded email for real-time messaging; the desire for community building and informal interactions has heightened; and we’re seeing greater adoption of asynchronous collaboration methods in place of meetings.

At the center of this transformation is our new smart digital campus app – Adobe Life – an award-winning digital experience, designed with Adobe products, as a solution to power our new hybrid workforce. As with everything we do, Adobe Life was created with our people in mind, drawing insights from employees’ workstyles, workflows and workspaces. The app is ripe with functionality to help employees stay productive, connected, informed, and well.

Adobe Life meets you where you are, whether in the office or on the go. It also serves as a critical function to our office re-entry plans. Each office has its own digital campus in the app, serving as a hub of curated news and information catered to their location including wayfinding, conference room bookings and preordering meals from the café. Employees can stay connected to each other with personalized community engagement and custom notifications powered by artificial intelligence.

This is just the beginning. We recognize that we have a lot to learn, and that evolving how we work will be a long-term transformation. But I’m energized by the fact that we’ll soon be able to come together again – be it in-person or digitally – to take what we’ve learned, while nurturing what makes Adobe special to create what’s next.