'It's Time To Admit That Remote Work Doesn't Work': Former PayPal Executive Says WFH Is No Way To Build A Great Company — And He's Not Alone

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The remote work trend has experienced an unprecedented surge in recent years. Workers enjoy the flexibility in managing their schedules and reduced commuting stress while companies get access to a broader talent pool as they can hire people from anywhere in the world.

But former PayPal Holdings Inc. executive David Sacks is not a fan of work-from-home (WFH) policies.

“It’s time to admit that remote work doesn’t work,” he said in a recent tweet. “WFH Friday is a four-day work week. Full WFH is a two-day work week.”

Sacks points out that when people are not in the office, every interaction has to be planned in advance. And that means “a lot of information-sharing doesn’t happen.”

“Remote is a great lifestyle, not a way to build a great company,” he concluded.

Sacks knows a thing or two about building companies. He was the founding chief operating officer of PayPal. Later he built the enterprise social networking platform Yammer, which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. in 2012 for $1.2 billion.

And he’s not the only member of the PayPal Mafia — a group of former PayPal employees and founders who went on to develop other tech companies — who doesn’t like the concept of remote work.

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Remote Work Is ‘Morally Wrong’

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk is likely the most famous member of the PayPal Mafia. Musk has revolutionized the electric car industry with Tesla and is making significant strides in space exploration with SpaceX.

And he’s not sold on the concept of remote work, either.

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“I’m a big believer that people are more productive when they are in person,” he said in a recent interview with CNBC.

To Musk, the issue extends beyond productivity.

He noted that workers who make things people consume can't work remotely. And to assume that these workers have to work on-site while you don't is “morally wrong.”

“It's like, really, you're going to work from home and you're going to make everyone else who made your car come work in the factory? You're going to make the people who make your food … that they can't work from home?” Musk said. “The people that come fix your house, they can't work from home, but you can? Does that seem morally right? That's messed up.”

Musk went so far as to say that “the laptop class is living in la la land.”

Work-From-Home Stocks Vs. Office REITs

The rise of remote work has brought about significant shifts in the investment landscape.

For instance, companies providing remote work collaboration tools, cloud-based services and digital communication platforms have experienced significant growth opportunities since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are now exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that help investors tap into the segment.

For example, the Direxion Work From Home ETF WFH aims to track the Solactive Remote Work Index. It holds 40 stocks, including companies that create popular solutions for enabling remote work such as Microsoft Corp. MSFT, Alphabet Inc. GOOGL and Zoom Video Communications Inc. ZM.

While remote work has presented new opportunities for some companies, it has also had a notable impact on commercial real estate, particularly office buildings. This shift in work dynamics has prompted companies to re-evaluate their office space requirements, leading to shifts in demand.

But if more leaders share Sacks and Musk’s view and bring their employees back on-site, office properties could see better days ahead.

Investors who want to bet on a bounce in this segment can look into real estate investment trusts (REITs) that focus on office buildings, such as Boston Properties Inc. BXP and Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. ARE.

If you prefer real estate segments with a bit less uncertainty, you might want to look into single-family rentals. After all, no matter what happens to remote work, people will always need a place to live and a growing number of people are now renting instead of buying. These days, there are even options to invest in rental properties with as little as $100.

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