DAVOS, Switzerland — While Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has been pounding the table on the death of the office, another work-from-anywhere CEO has a more nuanced view of the future of offices.
"What we would love to see is kind of a different use for that square footage and really a purpose for people coming into the office," Slack Co-Founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield told Yahoo Finance on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (video above).
Butterfield noted that Slack, which is now a division of enterprise software provider Salesforce, has been trying different office configurations in its San Francisco headquarters to accommodate large and small groups of people.
The upheaval from the COVID-19 pandemic is leading corporate leaders to rethink their office strategies, though the data on what the future of work may hold is ambiguous at best.
Approximately 60% of U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home are working remotely all or most of the time, according to a new Pew Research survey. Longer-term, the study finds that 60% of workers with jobs that can be done from home say that when the pandemic is over, they would like to mostly work from home if given the choice. That is up from 54% in 2020.
And among those who are currently working from home all or most of the time, 78% say they would like to stay working from home post-pandemic, compared to 64% in 2020.
Still, that isn't 100%.
Flexibility isn't the only factor workers are considering. Research from Ladders indicates that high-paying job opportunities that offer teleworking have increased throughout the pandemic from 9% at the end of 2020 to 15% today as employers pull out all the stops to attract talent.
“It’s a complete economic restructuring," Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella said in December 2021. "It changes everything. Work consumes about half of our waking hours. So when you change where you’re working and how you’re working, it impacts your entire life."
There is one thing that Butterfield, Chesky, and others in the space probably agree on: It's unlikely that the model of grinding away 100% of the time in an office and then dealing with a long commute is ever coming back.
"I don't think we are ever going back to the way it was, that is for sure," Butterfield said.
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