'Pure negative' | Why Netflix CEO slams working from home

Why Netflix CEO slams working from home

Over the last few months, many employees have been forced to work from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet, Netflix’s CEO and Chairman said he feels that working from home doesn’t have a positive effect on staff or the business – the BBC reports.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Reed Hastings was asked if he had seen any benefits to employees working from home amid the pandemic.

In response, he told the publication: “I don’t see any positives. Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative.”

Despite this, the online streaming platform, which has 8,600 staff in its workforce, said that workers would not have to return to the workplace until a large portion had received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, Hastings said that the firm is “up and running” in a lot of Europe and Asia, with a few things in Los Angeles too.

“The hope is that, through September and October, we can really get – with proper testing – a lot more running,” Hastings added.

While some employers are keen to return workers to central offices, others have suggested that staff may not return to physical workspaces in the long run.

Staff can work from home long-term

Many other high-profile tech firms are backing working from home. In May, tech giant Twitter told staff they could work from home ‘forever’ if they wanted to after the firm revealed that its homeworking measures had proven to be a success.

In a statement, the firm said: “The past few months have proven we can make that work. So, if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.”

From our magazine

The BBC reported that Mastercard staff were able to continue working from home until they felt comfortable returning to the office amid the coronavirus crisis.

Elsewhere, Variety previously reported that staff working at Facebook and Google would likely not be returning to central workspaces full-time until 2021.

'Challenging statement'

Jonathan Richards, CEO and Founder of Breathe said that it is a “really challenging statement" to suggest that there are no positives to working from home.

He told HR Grapevine: “Of course, working from home has some downsides. Setting up makeshift desks in kitchens and balancing work and family life hasn’t always been easy but it has introduced a new approach to flexible working for many.

“Over the last few months, we’ve seen that businesses can still thrive whilst employees collaborate remotely and don’t have to be chained to the desk for the 9-5 to do so,” Richards added.

‘Professionals should see the benefits of homeworking’

Justin Ukrainski, Head of Learning and a People Transformation Lead at Royal Mail, said that professionals should try and see the benefits of homeworking, as it is likely to stay for some time.

In a previous interview with HR Grapevine, he explained: “I’ve seen leaders who would never [have] encouraged home working who had no choice [but] to do it and have now completely shifted their mindset,” Ukrainski explained.

Looking for more

While employers may have expressed concerns over slipping productivity levels, research has actually pointed towards an increase in output over lockdown.

In fact, research from Vodafone found that 40% of staff say they have been more productive since they moved to homeworking arrangements in March.

“We say the ‘new normal’ and I think we are starting to go from seeing it as a kind of thing that we had to do, as a negative, to actually people realising they can thrive working from home, and their team can thrive. It should shift from something we have to do to something we like doing,” Royal Mail’s people transformation lead concluded.

Have you enjoyed this piece?

Subscribe now to myGrapevine+ and get access to exclusive new content, and the full content archive.

Comments (2)

  • Annabelle
    Thu, 3 Dec 2020 1:02pm GMT
    As someone who supports 25 countries, and has a boss who is not in the same country as me, nor an of my team members, 99 % of the people I work with on a daily basis are not in the same country as me. So, working from home has no bearing on how I interact with other people I work with, because I see so few of the people I work with under normal circumstances. All my meetings are calls, because no one I meet with is in the same location as me, even when I am in the office.
  • Martha
    Tue, 8 Sep 2020 7:20pm BST
    About this statement: "40% of staff say they have been more productive", you should actually ask employers for proper KPIs to back employees' perception about their own productivity. I have seen people work more hours, that doesn't necessarily mean they get more things done.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.