Nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic altered the entire landscape of work, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is among the corporate leaders whose criticism of the remote workforce is growing louder.
After a tumultuous 2022 for the industry and Salesforce in particular, the CEO appears content to blame the company’s woes on the perceived reduced productivity of remote workers, especially younger employees and those hired during the pandemic. However, the onus may be less on young remote workers or flexible workplace practices and more on poor onboarding and management, as well as other factors.
In audio leaked to Business Insider, Benioff is heard questioning remote workers’ ability to create meaningful relationships with colleagues as well as their productivity working from home. But according to Stanford economist and work-from-home expert Nicholas Bloom, a hybrid approach featuring two days per week in-office might promote productivity better than either extreme.
In actuality, productivity problems could stem from disorganized onboarding or ineffective management styles — including aggressive micromanagement.
While Benioff has become the public face of remote work criticisms, he is not the only high-profile name to question the practice. Author Malcolm Gladwell thinks it’s bad not just for companies, but for employees and society at large. And upon Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, the new owner all but eliminated the practice of working remotely, forcing employees to choose between coming into the office and being fired.