Atlassian CEO blasts push for office return

'Half our employees we've hired over the last few years couldn't have come to work for us if we didn't have that flexible working environment'

Atlassian CEO blasts push for office return

Atlassian CEO Scott Farquhar slammed anew his fellow executives' widespread push to bring employees back on site as the debate surrounding office return policies further heats up.

"So, I have to get in my car and drive to the office to sit in a cubicle and zoom with other workers who are at home because the two days I work in the office are different from the days they are in the office?" Farquhar said as reported by the Daily Mail.

Atlassian has been allowing its employees to choose where and how they want to work in a policy it calls "TEAM Anywhere." According to the company's CEO, 53% of his organisation's new employees over the past two years live more than two hours from a company office.

"That means half our employees we've hired over the last few years couldn't have come to work for us if we didn't have that flexible and reliable working environment," he said.

His remarks came as businesses previously warned that work from home could kill the vibrancy of central business districts.

But Farquhar pointed out that flexible working conditions could also benefit states that would no longer need to attract entire organisations to their locations.

"Remote work is one of the best things that could happen to Queensland because for years they've been trying to attract people from Melbourne and Sydney but to do that previously they had to attract an entire company to move up to here," the CEO said.

In Atlassian's case, Farquhar said the organisation has 170 people working in Queensland despite not having an office there.

Not the first

This is not the first time that Farquhar attacked office return policies from fellow executives. Last year, he also called out Elon Musk's order to Tesla employees to return to the office full time.

"News from [Musk] & [Tesla] today feels like something out of the 1950s: 'Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week," he said on Twitter.

But Musk's views on remote work remain unchanged. Early this year, the Tesla CEO even called working from home "morally wrong."

"It's a productivity issue but it's also a moral issue," he previously told CNBC.

Musk is among the list of executives around the world calling out employees for refusing to return to the office.

But like Farquhar, there are also other CEOs who are embracing remote work and have been slamming their fellow executives' calls for office returns.

"I guarantee you that many of these CEOs who are calling people back to the office in New York City are going away to the Hamptons for the summer or going to Europe in August," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said early this year.

Joseph Toma, CEO of Immersive Meetings Platform Jugo, also said hybrid work is still beneficial as it offers flexibility and in-person collaboration opportunities.

"Yes, physical interaction can foster creativity, but modern technology facilitates similar opportunities online. Productivity is not exclusive to physical presence," Toma told HRD in a statement.

"The future of business requires innovation and adaptability; if you dismiss remote/flexible work, you're not seeing how people can work together with purpose."

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