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San Diego company allows permanent remote work

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Nov 29, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — As San Diegans return to offices across the county, one local company is allowing them to stay remote forever. It's a move that appears to pay dividends for all involved.

Keri Cannon's living room has become something of a co-working space these days. While she types away for her job at San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals, her six-year-old daughter Kolby does her homework feet away.

"It just gives me more time with her, at the end of the day," Cannon said. "Instead of an hour or two in the evening, I get three or four."

It also saves Cannon $600 to $800 dollars a month on daycare, some of that money headed toward Kolby's college fund.

Cannon is the director of nonclinical safety at Arena, its corporate headquarters 6 miles west of her Mira Mesa home. But its location might as well be across the world, because Cannon has no plans to return to the office once the pandemic ends.

"I am so much more productive on all fronts," she said. "I'm more efficient. Definitely more productive. I can get multiple things done in a day."

Arena has made the same conclusion for its 300 San Diego workers, launching a new program called Work Together, Live Wherever. After conducting focus groups and surveying employees, the company decided to give them the option to continue working remote permanently even after it reopens the office in December.

"As a company our employees were more productive working from home than being in the office," said Mike Paolucci, Arena's Chief Human Resource Officer. "At the same time, employees were able to maintain a better work-life balance when working from home. And we also found that during the pandemic as a company Arena achieved and in many cases exceeded our company priorities and our goals."

Paolucci said the corporate office in Sorrento Valley will be reconfigured into a place more conducive to meetings, with fewer offices and more collaborative work areas. He added Arena has seen its applications increase two-fold since it announced the initiative. It currently has 70 openings, and could add another 200 next year.

Cannon said she hasn't stepped foot inside the building since she cleared her desk when the pandemic hit in March 2020.

"It's weird because I used to drive that way every single day," she said.

But being remote has only made her feel closer to her company.