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Chip manufacturing giant will allow most office workers to choose between working from home or coming in

PHOTO: TIM HERMAN/INTEL CORPORATION - Margaret Henschel, one of the more than 50,000 Intel employees in the United States, moves through Fab 32, a high-volume manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. Intel Corporation's U.S. manufacturing and research and development facilities are in Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Under Intel's new hybrid policy, factory workers must still come in but office workers can choose to work from home.

Intel will offer most office workers a choice between working from home or coming in, although those in manufacturing will still have to show up to the plant.

Intel's Mod 3 at Ronler Acres became the 7th largest industrial property to be completed in Q4 this year according to a report by commercial real estate news service CommercialSearch. With this in mind, the chip maker has announced that its office workers can now choose their office cubicle or their work from home set up.

Ronler Acres Mod 3 will add 1.1 million square feet of space when it opens fully.

Intel's Chief People Officer Christy Pambianchi said it is now a hybrid-first company, and 90% of Intel's employees surveyed said they want that choice.

Intel has 110,600 employees worldwide with around 20,000 in Oregon, mostly in the Hillsborough area of Washington County.

Cleaning house

Intel spokesperson Elly Akopyan clarified Pambianchi's comments, telling the Business Tribune, "We anticipate that the majority of our employees will be hybrid. We are not mandating a corporate-wide approach for amount of time that employees need to be onsite. We believe in empowering our teams to find the right balance."

While the executive team that runs the global chip superpower is based in San Jose, California, Oregon's Intel presence is mostly manufacturing. Thousands of staff move chemicals and silicon wafers around huge factories, where they apply light and chemical gases to inscribe the chip circuits. Such people must be present to do their job.

Said Akopyan, "As a manufacturing company, some roles will always be 'on-site' full time - this includes our employees who work in labs and factories that are critical to much of our world's digital infrastructure. Hybrid-eligible employees will also have the choice to work primarily on-site if they prefer."

PMG FILE PHOTO - Cranes at Intel's Ronler Acres where the next big fab is opening just in time for the company's new hybrid policy on working from home and coming into the office.

Office space

Intel owns many of its offices in Oregon instead of leasing them, so management has more flexibility in keeping them open and only partially used. This has held true for COVID-19 pandemic social distancing purposes and now for a lifestyle choice.

"We are planning to evolve our campuses to optimize our real estate and increase the effectiveness of our offices for our employees," Akopyan said. "We'll continue to have dedicated desk space, conference rooms and phone booths for privacy, but we're also looking to create shared spaces that can optimize that onsite collaboration. For instance, we're looking at enhanced one-touch video conferencing and center-of-room control, which captures the magic of face-to-face collaboration, sparking innovation and creativity."

Intel will not give up its back-to-back meetings culture just yet.

"Our goal is to enable remote and on-site work where it drives the best output, while ensuring everyone has equitable access to the systems, resources, and opportunities needed to thrive."

Furniture and "wellness" will be provided.

"We have added benefits, which include Wellness Days (extra time off specifically for mental wellness). We also provide reimbursement for ergonomic at-home workstations like desks, chairs, monitors and peripherals.

Big plants

The biggest factory underway in CommercialSearch's Industrial Pipeline's survey is electric automobile company Tesla's Gigafactory in Austin, Texas and in July 2020. Second place goes to Amazon's logistics and distribution center in metro Austin — at 3.8 million square feet on 94 acres of former agricultural land.

The next three largest on the list were also Amazon hubs: in Windsor, Conn., a 3.6-million-square-foot distribution center; Project Chico in Albuquerque, N.M., a sorting center of 2.5 million square feet; and in metro Los Angeles a 2.3-million-square-foot Amazon warehouse in Oxnard, Calif.

The Tesla Gigafactory is situated on a 2,481-acre lot and will be the largest automobile factory in the U.S., by far, at an estimated 4 million square feet.


Joseph Gallivan
Reporter, The Business Tribune
971-204-7874
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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