Sep 15, 2021
Much has changed in the nature of work and what is required to successfully run businesses since the pandemic took hold. Further evidence of these changes is the announcement yesterday by Rite Aid that it takes a remote approach first when it comes to business associates. To support workers, Rite Aid is building a network of Collaboration Centers in markets where the drugstore chain operates to meet and collaborate in person as needed.
Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan explained the transformation in a video to the company-wide company team this morning. Among the news shared was that the company’s new headquarters will be located in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Philadelphia to host meetings with customers and partners and help build and build relationships with remote staff. The space was designed with in-person collaboration and corporate meetings in mind rather than offices. The planned regional collaboration centers will provide the teams with the opportunity to meet in person as well as to learn and develop.
America’s third-largest drugstore chain has operated with a remote workforce since the early days of the pandemic. The results of this unanticipated experiment gave Rite Aid the confidence to move forward with its remote-first approach.
An internal survey of business associates found that a large majority preferred to work from home rather than go to the office. Associates noted increased productivity due to the greater flexibility and a higher degree of control over how they manage their work / life balance. Rite Aid strives to align its corporate staff of 2,800 people with a shared mission and an understanding of their responsibilities by working remotely.
“We are changing our business from the inside out, and our redesigned workplace is the latest and exciting step towards the future of this business,” Ms. Donigan said in a statement. “We believe in remote work, and as we look at it for the long haul, we’re investing in a physical footprint that will facilitate its best version. “
“We can recruit the best talent regardless of their location, and we can give our corporate associates the freedom and flexibility that today’s workers need,” said Jim Peters, COO of Rite Aid.
“I think it’s particularly significant that these changes have been shaped by our associates, whose contributions we have sought along the way. This approach aligns with one of our core values: getting there together, ”he added.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Rite Aid is on the right track with its remote-first approach to its corporate workforce and its use of collaboration centers? How do you expect other large retail organizations to approach corporate functions in the future?
“This thoughtful approach of Rite Aid demonstrates forward thinking and builds a new model of cooperation, trust and shared goals.
“We no longer work from home, we make a living from work.”
“Will we see a future where employees will have to live X miles from a collaboration center, but can work from home?” “