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WeWork CEO sparks backlash after claiming workers who want to return to offices are most ‘engaged’

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The CEO of WeWork is being mocked after claiming that companies can identify their “most engaged” workers by looking at those who want to return to the office.

Sandeep Mathrani, who has worked for the office-sharing company since February 2020, made the comments while speaking at the The Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival on Wednesday.

“Those who are uberly engaged with the company want to go to the office two-thirds of the time, at least,” he said, adding: “Those who are least engaged are very comfortable working from home.”

While speaking with the outlet, Mathrani also claimed that people are “happier when they come to work,” and that the post-pandemic conversation will not be about whether employees should return to their office or not, but rather how many days a week they will be in the office.

“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,” he said.

According to Mathrani, in addition to proving which employees are most-dedicated to their companies, a return to the office will also help workers - as it will allow them to “reinstate boundaries between work and home life”.

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On social media, the WeWork CEO’s comments were mostly met with amused responses, with many pointing out that Mathrani would be “biased” about the topic of returning to work considering his own role.

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“I wonder why the CEO of a company that rents office space would say this,” one person tweeted.

Another said: “Says the guy whose company makes money selling office space LOL.”

“This is about as compelling a story as something like: ‘local barber thinks everyone should get a haircut twice a week,’” someone else joked.

Others compared Mathrani’s comments to a hypothetical Coke CEO claiming that the “person who drinks soda is your most innovative thinker,” while another tweeted: “‘Smoking is good for you’ said tobacco company CEO.”

As for whether WeWork offices will return to a pre-pandemic atmosphere, which included beers on tap and tequila shots, Mathrani said: “Fun is not defined by those aspects.”

“I’m 59 years old. I’m uber serious, and so maybe having an adult in the room will change that,” he said.

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