When Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), warned employees to work from the office for at least 40 hours a week or go home permanently, social media users were quick to label him with words like ‘arrogant’ and ‘insensitive’. However, he is not alone in a row making headlines with statements. Instead, a Forbes survey reveals that 45% of 65 surveyed billionaires don’t believe in work from home culture, either Hybrid or complete.
The pandemic has changed how we work for the better; most employees feel happier working from their desired location, not office cubical. But Musk’s statement and the billionaire’s stand on fully non-remote work is a concern for many.
The survey reveals many exciting yet challenging facts about the future of work and the perception of top leaders whose voices have the power to influence the global industries.
Work from home: Billionaires have mixed opinion
To understand prominent leaders’ thoughts on the changing working environment, Forbes surveyed 65 billionaires in multiple countries.
- 52% of leaders believe in hybrid working models where most work is done remotely, but they also favor the thought of employees working from a physical office for at least one or two days a week.
- 45% of leaders support only the work from the office culture. They believe that most employees would return to the office as it’s best suitable for practical work.
- Only 3% of billionaires who participated in the survey back the notion of fully remote work and said they had profited and saved money that directly benefits the company’s bottom line.
Although many companies have already shifted to hybrid working models, it’s pretty surprising that there is still a massive number of billionaires around the world who think differently.
Surprisingly, many of these companies who are now willing to push their employees to adopt hybrid work culture were vocal about remote working until the end of 2021.
So, what made the top brasses of these companies have change of heart?
There are many factors these billionaires cited for switching their thoughts about work models, and each of these people has their own reasons.
Future of Work: Supporting Elon Musk
With the survey, Forbes also talked with many billionaires to know their opinion on the future of work. Some of those statements are fantastic and show a futuristic approach. While few endorsed the work-from-home culture, many stood against it.
Soon after Musk’s announcement, Scott Farquhar, an Australian billionaire, the co-founder, and CEO of software giant Atlassian, blazingly said that Musk was mandating “something out of the 1950s.”
However, he is not the only one contradicting Musk’s statement. Various billionaires have different opinions on a similar topic.
1. David Hoffman, a billionaire based in Naples, Florida, founded DHR, a real estate company. He said his company sold around 80% of office space in expensive cities like New York and Chicago. It helped them to save millions of dollars that directly benefit their employees.
2. Jim Thompson, a billionaire, based in Hongkong and the man behind the largest privately owned relocation company, Crown Worldwide, says the work-from-home model was helpful in a pandemic but cannot replace “Face-to-Face “collaboration.
He added that the model positively impacts those who live with families and travel far for work. Still, it becomes difficult to bind a team when all employees work individually.
3. Tilman Fertitta, a Texas-based billionaire and owner of Fertitta Entertainment, has an entirely different choice from all others. She says, “We are in the hospitality business, and our venues are already short-staffed.” She can’t allow remote working for employees because no one will be there to serve guests, the social interaction will be missing. The overall charm of her business will be destroyed.
With these statements, you can understand that billionaires in different industries think differently. For some, complete remote work is the best model and save millions, while other cannot even think of sending their employees home for work. That’s why most companies prefer hybrid models.
Many believe in Hybrid working models
Thomas Malone, a professor of management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says, “Now people have gotten a taste of what it’s like to have more freedom about where they work, it’s going to very hard to convince them to come back.”
Raj Choudhary, an associate professor at Harvard University, has been researching the work from home models for a long time and believes that the hybrid model will be the future of work.
A hybrid model is convincing because it allows employees to work remotely and enjoy most of their time with their families. While regularly meeting with colleagues keeps their working and team-building enthusiasm alive. At the same time, it helps the management collectively plan for goals and achieve targets at the desired time.
Productivity is another major factor that is encouraging companies to adopt the hybrid model. Going beyond subjective debate and discussion, another study from OwlLabs show that employees allowed to work in remote or hybrid work environment are 22% happier than those working from office (WFO), which has a direct impact on their productivity.
Remote work will increase in 2023
Another study by Forbes reveals that despite many companies expecting their employees to start coming back to office, remote work will increase in 2023.
The majority of people believe in work-from-home models. It’s a win-win situation for both management and employees, but complete remote working is a distant reality for many. If your work is manageable from home, you might find the option to work from home and office collectively.
But, if you are in the hospitality, deliveries, logistics, or offline customer service industry, you might find yourself caught in 100% office working space because there is currently no other option. You can shift your career if you are willing to work from home comfortably.
Employees are not snug in their offices. Another study from Owllabs highlights that 57% of those who have already returned to the office want to work from home permanently. What’s even more concerning is the fact that 42% of employees are feeling stressed by the increasing demand of their employers to return to the office.
But employees who are actively seeking remote work may also be aware of the downside of it. Data shows that those who work remotely end up working for more offices than those working onsite. According to the OwlLabs study, 55% of those who participated in the study revealed that they work for more hours without any additional perks when working from home. What’s even more damaging is the fact that only 11% of managers are concerned about the burnout of their employees. It could be due to missing physical interactions that are possible only in the office.
Most people believed they would continue to work from home after the pandemic. Surprisingly, billionaires don’t think the same way. Almost half of them don’t believe in remote working at all.
The world’s richest man’s statement has sparked tensions among employees within the company; indeed, it has escalated in other companies. With the Forbes survey, the stand of world billionaires on the topic is clear.
The remote working model will depend on your industry. And probably, you will be exposed to hybrid working models soon. But always be prepared to switch to the office!