Microsoft CEO Warns against Making Remote Work Permanent

Category: Business

Listening

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. implement / ˈɪm pləˌmɛnt / (v) – to start or put something, usually a plan, into action
    Example:

    My company implemented a stricter attendance policy because of the increasing instances of late and absent employees.


  2. sold on (something) / soʊld ɑn / (idiom) – convinced that something is a good idea
    Example:

    My dad became sold on the idea of buying an electric car after test-driving one.


  3. burnout / ˈbɜrnˌaʊt / (n) – the condition of being physically and emotionally tired because of doing something too much
    Example:

    The company advises its employees to go on short vacations to prevent burnout.


  4. pose / poʊz / (v) – to be the possible cause of something (e.g. danger, trouble, a problem)
    Example:

    Air pollution poses health risks to people with lung problems.


  5. blow / bloʊ / (n) – something that causes difficulties or damage to something
    Example:

    The company’s reputation took a serious blow from the scandal.


Article

Read the text below.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that working from home permanently may have a negative impact on employees’ social interaction and mental wellness.


Although the tech giant is one of the companies that promptly implemented remote work due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Nadella is not sold on making the setup permanent. He cautioned that adopting a remote work setup permanently might damage the relationships and networks built before the pandemic.


In an interview with The New York Times, Nadella said that practicing soft skills like managing and mentoring is not easy online. He added that companies should think about how to continue community building while remote work is ongoing. They should also watch out for signs of burnout during this time, he explained.


Nadella shared his sentiments days after Twitter and Square both decided to let their employees choose whether they will eventually report back to the office or work from home permanently. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of the two companies, said the new policy aims to let employees who are capable of working remotely choose where they feel most creative and productive.


So far, Microsoft has extended its work from home arrangement only until October, unless the threat posed by the pandemic requires further extension.


Despite major adjustments to its operations in the previous months, Microsoft did not suffer the same blow to its finances as many other companies did. It even managed to boost its revenue by 15% in the first quarter of this year. The company has also performed well in the stock market, with its stock price increasing by 14%. Because of its success amid the pandemic, the company said that it is planning to lend a hand to struggling businesses and organizations.


Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with Nadella’s opinion that permanent remote work can have a negative impact on employees’ social interaction and mental health? Why or why not?

• Which do you think is better, working from home fully or reporting to the office occasionally? Discuss.


Discussion B

• Do you think that most companies will continue to allow remote work after the pandemic is resolved? Why or why not?

• How can the negative aspects of remote work be addressed? Discuss.