WeWork’s new CEO is not a fan of remote work

Are the most engaged workers the ones that want to come back to the office? Apparently that’s the mindset of WeWork’s new CEO, according to a report.

Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of WeWork, said that workers who are less engaged are the ones that are comfortable working remotely, while those that are engaged are willing to go to the office most of the time.

“Those who are uberly engaged with the company want to go to the office two-thirds of the time, at least,” Mathrani told The Wall Street Journal at the Future of Everything Festival. “Those who are least engaged are very comfortable working from home.”

Mathrani, who became WeWork’s CEO last year following the botched IPO attempt and theatrics of the startups founder, Adam Neumann, earlier in 2019, said Wednesday that workers are happier when they have to come to work — even if research has suggested that many workers are keen on continuing remote working following the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

“People are happier when they come to work,” said Mr. Mathrani. “The bigger issue is do you come to work five days a week or do you come to work three days a week? That’s the bigger issue. There’s no issue of not coming to a common place.”

The return to work isn’t designed to be a punishment, but it would allow workers “at least part time” to craft some routine and separate work and home life once again that had gone with the pandemic, the report said.

The unexpected shift to remote working has caused many to fall out of pre-pandemic routines. Workers have said that they miss their commutes and other normalcies that would be in place were they working in a physical office.

In a parting shot at Neumann, Mathrani skirted a question about whether WeWork would bring back it’s over-the-top employee social events, which often involved excessive amount of alcohol.

“Fun is not defined by those aspects,” Mathrani said. “I’m 59 years old. I’m uber serious, and so maybe having an adult in the room will change that.”

WeWork will once again try to go public thanks to a merger with BoxX Acquisition Corp. (SPAC). The company had announced a blockbuster IPO in the summer of 2019 before it stalled due to a flurry of issues, both at the company and due to company culture.

The company has laid off thousands of workers since its failed IPO attempt, most recently letting go of nearly 3,000 workers in 2020, according to the report.