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Back to the office with you: 'Perhaps 5 days is too much family time' – Workday CEO

Zoom is great for status update meetings, says big cheese, but as for inspiring a workforce...

To some of us, the work-from-home revolution provides a welcome opportunity to spend time with family members, even though working and studying shoulder-to-shoulder might not be a frictionless process.

For Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri, who also co-founded the software-as-a-service company used by HR, procurement and finance pros, the return to commutes and long, lacquered conference tables at corporate HQ can't come soon enough.

Speaking on a Goldman Sachs investor call last week, he opined: "In terms of going back, I'm a big believer that we're going to be back in the office."

"I know that in the case of Workday, that's what I'm asking," he said, although he conceded: "Maybe a handful of people can work remotely.

"It is hard to collaborate. It's hard to really have a great culture and an inspired workforce if you're just on Zoom every day. And I think in the early days, people were excited about this remote work, but 10 months into it, most people want to get back into the office."

While Bhusri acknowledged the "mental health" benefits of "family time" calling it a "silver lining" of the pandemic, he also noted that "maybe five days is too much family time. One or two days is a good amount." He predicted "travel" will come back to about "75 per cent" of its previous level.

"But there's a lot of meetings that don't have to be in person that you can do over Zoom, especially checking meetings during an implementation. I used to fly up for all those. And now I think Zoom works really well for the one hour status meeting."

A bunch of tech firms including Fujitsu and Dell said last year they don't anticipate employees routinely returning to the office, even after the pandemic is over. Google expects staff to mix up their time working in the office and at home.

Meanwhile, protracted lockdowns have forced Oracle and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to reconsider the way they operate too: both businesses are relocating HQ from Silicon Valley to Texas.

Larry won't be transferring with his troops, instead he'll fly in the opposite direction to Hawaii. ®

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