Workday CEO wants workers to return to the office ASAP

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Working from home impedes the creation of a “great culture and an inspired workforce,” according to Aneel Bhusri.

This week Aneel Bhusri, the CEO of Workday, created some controversy when he told an audience from Goldman Sachs that he cannot wait to see people return to the office instead of working from home.

“In terms of going back, I’m a big believer that we’re going to be back in the office,” he proclaimed.

Bhusri is also co-founder of Workday, the software-as-a-service company used by HR, procurement and finance professionals around the world. He assured those on the call that he intends to practice what he is preaching when it comes to getting workers back at their desks.

“I know that in the case of Workday, that’s what I’m asking,” he said. He did add, in an almost conciliatory gesture, that “maybe a handful of people can work remotely.”

Remote working can make collaboration more difficult

Bhusri seems to think that the downsides of remote working have not been recognised enough. “It is hard to collaborate,” he said. “It’s hard to really have a great culture and an inspired workforce if you’re just on Zoom every day.”

Bhusri also believes that most employees share his point of view regarding remote working. “I think in the early days, people were excited about this remote work,” he admits. “But 10 months into it, most people want to get back into the office.”

Home working a “silver lining” of the Coronavirus

He went on to acknowledge that some of the benefits brought by working from home were a “silver lining” to the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefits of family time and the salubrious effects on mental health that can be derived from skipping the daily commute are real.

But it is possible to have too much of a good thing, according to Bhusri. “Maybe five days is too much family time,” he opined, adding that “one or two days is a good amount.”

Bhusri also predicted that travel will come back to about 75 percent of its pre-pandemic level.