Michael Bloomberg implies remote employees are playing golf instead of working: 'It is funny, but it's tragic'
- Michael Bloomberg is an outspoken critic of remote work.
- One reason? He thinks employees are slacking off and hitting the golf course during the workday, he told CBS.
Michael Bloomberg is once again calling for an end to remote work — this time accusing slacking employees of hitting the golf course when they should be at their desks.
"I will say we are paying our employees for five days a week of work," the former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman told CBS Sunday Morning in an interview that aired Sunday. "Now, if you think that those can be done at home, I don't know. But every golf course that I've heard about in the last three years has had record summers, okay? It is funny, but it's tragic."
A March study by Stanford University researchers found that remote work "powered a huge boom in golfing," with visits to golf courses surging on weekdays and mid-afternoons compared to pre-pandemic times.
"The most likely explanation is employees are golfing as breaks while working from home," the researchers, Nick Bloom and Alex Finan, wrote.
When CBS's Mo Rocca noted to Bloomberg that Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey estimates no more than 75% of remote workers will return to the office, the billionaire replied that "he doesn't know what he's talking about."
"I can't work with you if it's over Zoom," he said. "You can't do the same thing via Zoom that you can do face-to-face. Period."
Employees and their managers disagree about how productive working from home can be. In a Stanford University survey last year, employees reported that they felt they were 7.4% more productive working from home, but managers said they believed employees were 3.5% less productive when working remotely.
It's not the first time Bloomberg has raised the issue.
In the op-ed, he noted that more than 80% of employees at his eponymous media company went into the office three days a week, as requested, and that he'd be ramping up the requirement to four days a week for much of the organization in the fall.
"Our managers have seen the benefits of returning to in-person work, and we have heard about those benefits from their teams, too, especially from young people just starting their careers," he wrote. "When senior managers are not present to mentor and nurture junior staff members, it hurts their professional development and prospects for career growth — and the future of the organization, too."
Just days after Bloomberg's article was published, Biden reportedly ramped up efforts to get federal employees back to the office.
Many large employers like Meta, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs have similarly called workers back, putting an end to work-from-home policies that have been popular with many employees. But employees have been fighting back, looking for new jobs or refusing to follow return-to-office policies.
"It's already an ugly war, and it's unfortunate," Abbie Shipp, a professor of management at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, told Insider. "This was a great opportunity to experiment with new methods and customize based on individual needs and companies' needs."
Do you have a story to share about returning to the office? Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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