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 Working from home

05.10.20.  Morning Mail’s large staff have always worked from their caves, the idea of paying a fortune to sit in a well-kept air-conditioned office offends every bit of our intellect and wallets. Because of our tight-arseness the Chinese flue has had little effect on our work and style in which we do it. But for many, it has been the most disruptive experience of their work life. At the start, many were excited by the thought of working from home, but that has worn off quickly. Probably a few enjoy it still but many want to get back to their mates on the job. Virtual work and virtual meetings have been “fine” for maintaining existing relationships but they are not as conducive to developing and growing new relationships. This is also an issue from a standpoint of people development and networks in companies to get things done. MM was interested in what the CEOs of our biggest companies think about their people working from home and whether as some argue, working from home would become the norm. The following comments were taken from the Wall Street Journal that would suggest it won’t.“I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.” —Reed Hastings, co-chief executive of NetflixInc., on working from home“I don’t believe BlackRock will be ever 100% back in office. I actually believe maybe 60% or 70%, and maybe that’s a rotation of people, but I don’t believe we’ll ever have a full cadre of people in [the] office.” —Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc., speaking at the digital Morningstar Investment Conference on Sept. 17

“We tried it…It’s just not the same. You just cannot get the same quality of work.” Rajat Bhageria, CEO of robotics startup Chef Robotics, on what the company learned in attempting to work remotely

“The supply and demand for office space may change significantly. A lot of people have learned that they can work at home, or that there’s other methods of conducting their business than they might have thought from what they were doing a couple of years ago. When change happens in the world, you adjust to it.” Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., speaking at the company’s annual meeting in May
“In all candor, it’s not like being together physically. And so I can’t wait for everybody to be able to come back into the office. I don’t believe that we’ll return to the way we were because we’ve found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually.” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., speaking at a virtual conference hosted by the Atlantic in September
“That unplanned kind of interaction that contributes so much to how we build relationships with people and how we build culture, those things are what are missing.” Andi Owen, chief executive of furniture giant Herman Miller Inc., on longing for the chance to stop by a colleague’s desk
“None of us really knows how this movie will play out if it continues like this for much longer.” Daniel Lubetzky, founder and executive chairman of snack-bar maker KIND LLC, on the challenge of maintaining company culture in the remote-work era
“There’s sort of an emerging sense behind the scenes of executives saying, ‘This is not going to be sustainable.’” Laszlo Bock, chief executive of human-resources startup Humu and former HR chief at Google, on the state of remote work
“I am concerned that we would somehow believe that we can basically take kids from college, put them in front of Zoom, and think that three years from now, they’ll be every bit as productive as they would have had they had the personal interaction [of work in offices].” Ronald J. Kruszewski, chief executive of Stifel Financial Corp., on professional development while working remotely
“We have adapted to work-from-home unbelievably well. I had a philosophy that I want to hire the best and the brightest even if they work from a different location, and now, ironically, we’re all working from another location. We’ve learned that we can work remote, and we can now hire and manage a company remotely.” Heyward Donigan, chief executive of Rite Aid Corp., on managing remotely
“Even in the Seattle region, where we have now sent a lot of people home, we’re realizing that some people would rather have workspace at work once the Covid-19 crisis goes away because they want dedicated workspace with good network connectivity.” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corp., speaking at a virtual conference in June
“I think we’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale, for sure, but we’re going to do this in a way that is measured, and thoughtful and responsible, and in phases over time.” —Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc. The social-media giant is also investing in offices. It spent $367.6 million to buy Recreational Equipment Inc.’s new campus near Seattle.
“Most of us are not hermits…We need that social interaction, not only from a business standpoint but truly from a kind of personal-development standpoint.” —Jim Fish, CEO of Waste Management Inc., on remote work and a desire for flexibility
It’s a much harder way to work for anything that requires a personal relationship. And as a consequence, I think we’re going to find that we maybe not go back to 100% in the office all the time. Because remote work clearly works for many things, but I think we’re going to find that being together delivers value in productivity and creativity and relationships that is irreplaceable.” —Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International Inc., at WSJ’s 2020 Future of Everything event this week

“If you’d said three months ago that 90% of our employees will be working from home and the firm would be functioning fine, I’d say that is a test I’m not prepared to take because the downside of being wrong on that is massive.” —James Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO, speaking on the bank’s earnings call in mid-April

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  • Ex ADF 05/10/2020, 7:09 am

    I guess that there would be some people who put in an honest days work from home, however my long experience in the workforce tells me that given a chance to watch a bit of tv, have a beer on the patio, take the rugrat to the park, return to the fridge every hour searching for a bite, persuade the missus to “take an afternoon nap”, etc etc would take precedence over any delights a connection to the office computer network holds.

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