Happy with remote work, CEOs consider ditching main offices

    While the coronavirus pandemic has left companies around the world looking at when, and in what numbers, they will return to headquarters, some companies are pondering whether they need to, reports The Wall Street Journal. 

    Businesses including JPMorgan Chase and Netflix Inc. have pushed to get employees back into the office, with some executives saying workers aren’t as productive at home. Others, including Apple Inc., say they plan to go back, but in a limited way, after success with remote working.

    But Freeport-McMoRan Chief Executive Richard Adkerson says he isn’t sure he wants to return to his office at the mining company’s downtown Phoenix headquarters, which looks out across the city. 

    He says remote working has worked well so far, and employees are saving time by not commuting. When staff need to meet, they can gather at an existing, open-plan satellite office on the outskirts of the city.

    “We are showing we can get the work done remotely … we are questioning ourselves—do we really need the headquarters?” Adkerson says. “People went into the office as a matter of routine.”

    Such a move could have downsides though, and the company hasn’t made a final decision. But before deciding, the company plans to test different concepts for using the main office when it is safe for people to return.

    Executives say they also need to determine how the absence of a main office would affect collaboration and teamwork, and affect new employees joining the organization.

    The conversations underway at Freeport echo debate at companies around the world as they measure what, if anything, has changed for good as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted life and business. The discussions are pivotal not only for big companies and workers but also for city tax revenues and the businesses and jobs that depend on downtown workers. Read the full story.