EAST MOLINE, Ill. — The Aquent IT Solutions office in East Moline has sat empty for more than a year, and now its employees will not return. The IT technology solutions company is making the switch nationwide for hundreds of its employees. Here in the Quad Cities, that's about 75 workers.
They moved to remote work like countless other businesses did last spring, and after some time adjusting, they say it's a switch they want to make permanently. Officials with the company say productivity has increased over the last year.
"When we have staff working remote, it eliminates long commutes and you can spend more time with your families," Head of Culture and Community Erin Bloom says. "And you have more quality time to get work done because it's more on your own terms."
Officials say 90 percent of employees will stay home for work, and they say ending their real estate office leases will allow them to invest more in employee education and events when it's safe to gather again.
An employee who lives in Coal Valley says he's adjusted to working from home and he's enjoyed it so far. But, there will be changes to this permanent transition.
"Overall from a long-term standpoint, things are changing and I think it's a great way of working together," Vivek Warikoo says. "The watercooler meetings that used to be casual meetings now have to be intentional meetings. Like if I need to talk to someone, I will set up a meeting and we will make use of technology like Zoom or Google Hangout where you switch on your camera and microphone and you have those interactions with your coworker or your customers."
10 percent of the company's offices are staying open for work purposes once it's safe to do so. The East Moline office is not one of those spaces and the company's lease is up at the end of the month.