More than two years after the Covid-19 pandemic, working life from home that began as a necessity has become the new (and preferred) normal for millions of Americans. A February report from the Pew Research Center reveals that among employees who have the option to return to an office, 61% choose to stay away.
But not everyone is on board. On Thursday, Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin said he brought his workers back to the office because he believes innovation and creativity suffer in a remote workforce. Newsweek reports.
Related: Pros and Cons of Distance Working: Will Your Employees Adapt?
Griffin shared his point of view at a conference hosted by Bloomberg Intelligence, in response to a question about how Covid has altered the way hedge funds work. The billionaire lamented the “great loss” of connectivity as a result of the Zoom meetings and noted that all Citadel employees have returned to the office with the exception of those in some jurisdictions in Asia.
“And that collaboration within our four walls I think has been an incredibly important part of our success story over the last two and a half years,” Griffin said. “It’s something I’d like all American companies to accept because of what you see, and more and more studies are emerging on that: innovation and creativity are falling into a remote workforce.”
When asked if the mandatory return to face-to-face work has led to resignations, Griffin admitted that he has done so in “a handful” of cases, but that, overall, employees have adapted surprisingly well. According to Griffin, when employees were told they could work from home during the Omicron hike, “most people kept coming to work.”
Griffin went on to say that people are “creatures of habit” who “create new habits fairly quickly” and ultimately appreciate the value of separating work life from family life.
Related: 17 things you need to know about remote work
Naturally, many disagree with Griffin’s perspective, and some go so far as to say that those who believe everyone should work in person are the ones who need to stretch their creative muscles.
“The only thing that slowed down flexible labor agreements was a failure of the imagination,” said Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings. The New York Times. “This failure was resolved in three weeks in March 2020.”
Citadel leaves Chicago and moves to Miami
In a note to employees Thursday, Griffin said Citadel will leave its Chicago headquarters and move to Miami, according to the Chicago Tribune. Citadel has 1,000 employees in Chicago; will continue to have an office in the city, but many of its employees will make the move to Florida, where Griffin is from, and where the CEO has recently moved with his wife and children.
“Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” Griffin wrote in the note. “Over the past year, however, many of our Chicago teams have applied to move to Miami, New York and our offices around the world.”
What is the net value of Griffin?
Griffin is an American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur and investor who is the founder, CEO, co-investment director and owner of 80% of the multinational hedge fund Citadel LLC, founded in 1990; has an estimated net worth of $ 29.6 billion.
According to the Chicago Tribune, is the richest man in Illinois and “has long been a civic force in Chicago.” He has donated more than a billion dollars to organizations such as the Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Science and Industry. But Griffin has also been an open critic of the city in recent years, citing the rise in crime and violence as one of the many factors influencing the Citadel movement in Miami.