Netflix CEO says Working From Home is a "Pure Negative"

Posted September 25 2020 By mary-palmer
 With announcements across the UK that those who can work remotely should continue to do so, there’s one CEO who thinks that extended working from home is a “pure negative.” Reed Hastings, CEO and Chairman of Netflix, made his remarks to The Wall Street Journal earlier on in September. Netflix – employer of almost 9,000 people worldwide – hopes to get its teams in Europe, Asia and North America back into the office with the help of more testing and a vaccine. He is quoted as saying, “I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.” Now, let’s put aside that Netflix have actually benefited from all of us being at home for months on end with no cinema access and no new TV shows being made. Why are they in such a rush to get back into the office when the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter are reported to have told employees that they can work from home indefinitely (in some cases) or until 2021 (in other cases)? Many news outlets have reported that we have all been more productive working from home – up anywhere between 13% and 47%, depending on your news source. We have less distractions; less opportunity to gossip over a cup of coffee or do some shopping over lunch. When we book in a meeting over Zoom, it tends to stick to the hour-long slot that you know it wouldn’t in person. Employees don’t have to worry about crowded rush hours with the added stress of additional hygiene measures right now. They simply log on at the kitchen table. And, many studies show that employees actually work longer hours – foregoing a full lunch hour or tea breaks; starting earlier etc – whilst working from home. But Hastings does have a point about there being some downsides to remote working. It’s easy to become isolated or not feel like part of a team when you’re not physically sitting together every day. Feeling “out of the loop” can happen quickly. It can also be challenging to come up with new ideas when you don’t have people right next to you to bounce ideas off of. Communication can also become tiring. What someone could have said whilst passing by your desk becomes another email or Zoom call for you to find time for. And, whilst working longer hours and taking less breaks may be a bonus for your employers, it can ultimately lead to a lot of stress and burnout – particularly if you can’t access your usual leisure activities or visit family and friends to blow off steam. There is less of a distinct divide between work and home life and that can lead to feeling like you need to always respond to emails or calls, no matter what time of day it is. So, there are pros and cons of working from home. But, for the meantime, it does look like we won’t be getting anywhere near the office – no matter what the CEO of Netflix desires. At HRC, we can absolutely see the benefits of giving people more flexibility over their working day and offering remote working. However, we all miss the feeling of being part of a team (and all the nights out and birthday cakes that go along with that!). If any of the consultants or leaders here at HRC can help with your working from home approach, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Stay safe!
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