In December, Oracle announced plans to change its headquarters location from its longtime home in the Silicon Valley community of Redwood Shores, California, to Austin, Texas, as part of a new “a more flexible work location policy” for its 135,000-plus global workforce.
“Many of our employees can choose their office location as well as continue to work from home part-time or all of the time,” the company said at the time. Indeed, founder and chief technical officer Larry Ellison told employees in December that he had moved to Hawaii, where he owns an island, rather than follow the headquarters to Austin. CEO Safra Catz appears to have maintained her residency in California.
Nearly three months later, however, five employees who spoke to Insider say Oracle has largely failed to address how this new policy actually works, creating confusion that’s only compounded by a headquarters change that seems largely symbolic in nature.
At least some parts of the tech giant have moved towards firming up their policies: In an internal meeting with her almost 500-person organization, Insider has learned, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Compute senior vice president Bev Crair said that software engineers can work remotely perpetually in most cases, and will not have their pay cut if they relocate — through relocation may affect future raises.
It’s unclear whether those terms apply to employees outside of Crair’s organization, and a person familiar with the matter said Crair’s comments were not an official statement of companywide policy. Meanwhile, other employees say they’ve been left in the dark completely about who can relocate or work remotely, who will approve those changes, and how they might affect pay.
“We are in pandemic mode and all non-essential employees continue to work remotely,” the person familiar with the matter said, but the company has otherwise not publicly stated any longer-term policies around remote work.
As for the headquarters situation, at least some employees are finding the move to be merely symbolic. Oracle told employees in December it had no plans to relocate teams from Redwood Shores to Austin. That hasn’t changed, employees told Insider — which only serves to exacerbate the confusion over why it made the move in the first place, especially with so much else up in the air.
“Austin, that has to be just a ceremony. We’re not going to get rid of anything in Redwood Shores,” one employee told Insider. “Honestly, I don’t think it impacts us at all. There’s no movement of people to Austin,” another said. Ultimately, the now-former Silicon Valley headquarters isn’t going anywhere, the employees said, noting that Oracle recently invested in a new $43 million tech-focused charter high school on the campus, which opened in 2018.
Many technology companies have announced plans to make work locations and schedules more flexible, immediately and after the pandemic. Microsoft, for example, is allowing some employees to adjust work locations and schedules, and the company provided detailed guidelines for how the policy works, according to internal documents viewed by Insider. It is becoming increasingly common for companies, including Microsoft, to adjust pay indexed to the cost of living in the area where an employee relocates..
The company on December 11 disclosed the headquarters change and new flexible work policy in a securities filing, stating “we believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work.” Oracle also said it would “continue to support major hubs” in cities like Redwood City, Austin, Santa Monica, Seattle, and Denver.
Spokespeople for Oracle declined to comment when asked about Oracle’s flexible work policy, whether it has worked out the details, and whether there are any plans for teams to relocate to Austin.
Oracle had 378 open roles in California and 245 open roles in Texas listed on its careers page as of the time of publication, although many job postings list multiple locations.