Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell has made his thoughts on working from home clear, believing that the concept is now hurting society, but any coming recession will likely force employees back into the office.
Gladwell, who has written six bestsellers and is the host of the Revisionist History podcast which has millions of subscribers, made the comments during an interview with The Diary of a CEO podcast.
“It’s very hard to feel needed when you’re physically disconnected,” Gladwell said during the 90 Minutes chat.
“As we face the battle that all organizations are currently facing to get people back into the office, it is really difficult to explain this fundamental psychological truth, which is that we want you to have a sense of belonging and that you feel necessary.
“And we want you to join our team. And if you’re not there, it’s really hard to do it,’ Gladwell explained.
But Gladwell is one to talk and has long been outspoken about his own longtime avoidance of working in a city office and worked from his comfortable home for decades.
The author who lives in New York’s trendy West Village neighborhood won’t even travel a few miles to his Midtown-based New York publishers because of his “dislike for Midtown.”
Indeed, such is his reluctance, as a interview 2008that couriers be sent to his home to collect equipment so that he can continue to work from home.
Gladwell says a recession will likely bring employees who are ‘sitting in their pajamas’ back to the office
Gladwell, who has written six bestsellers and is the host of the Revisionist History podcast which has millions of subscribers, made the comments during an interview with The Diary Of A CEO podcast, hosted by Steven Bartlett, at right
In San Francisco, only two-thirds of the city’s workforce have returned to their desks. Office occupancy in New York remains even lower, with around 36% return
But when it comes to the rest of the population, Gladwell offered a different approach.
The author of Blink and The Tipping Point said he believes workers need to return to the office to regain a “sense of belonging” and feel part of something bigger than themselves.
“It’s not in your interest to work from home,” he concludes. “I know it’s hard to get into the office, but if you’re just sitting in your bedroom in your pajamas, is that the professional life you want to live?”
Gladwell says a recession will likely bring employees “sitting in pajamas” back to the office.
‘Don’t you want to feel like you’re part of something?’ He asked. “I’m really, really frustrated with the inability of people in leadership positions to effectively explain this to their employees.
Gladwell is happy to encourage others to return to the office, but he hasn’t worked one himself in decades, stating his ‘dislike for Midtown’
“It’s not in your interest to work from home. I know it’s hard to get into the office, but if you’re just sitting in your bedroom in your pajamas, is this the professional life you want to live? Gladwell asks
“If we don’t feel like we’re part of something big, what’s the point?” If it’s just a paycheck, then it’s like what have you reduced your life to?
Gladwell’s remarks will likely be welcomed by mayors of the nation’s biggest cities who are struggling to get workers back into office.
New York Mayor Eric Adams and San Francisco Mayor London Breed have urged workers in the tech and finance sectors to return to the office with their presence to help other small businesses who, in their tower, depend on foot traffic from the offices.
In San Francisco, only two-thirds of the city’s workforce have returned to their desks. Office occupancy in New York remains even lower with around 36% return.
City officials say continued remote work resulted in a $400 million shortfall in tax revenue in 2021.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and San Francisco Mayor London Breed have urged workers in technology and finance to return to office.
Aerial view of a large empty parking lot outside the Capital One office building in Melville, New York earlier this year. Delicatessens, cafes and restaurants have struggled as office workers continue to work from home since the start of the pandemic (file photo)
Fast food chain Shake Shack has revealed it missed its sales forecast because office workers were returning to their office cubicles much slower than expected.
Security firm, Kastle Systems, calculated that office occupancy in 10 major U.S. metropolitan areas averaged 44% in the week ending July 27, according to Bloomberg News.
San Francisco city officials said remote work cost it $400 million in tax revenue last year.
But financial and technology companies are in a difficult position, fearing mass resignations if they force workers back into the office.