Professor Scott Galloway of New York University is used to being the man who calls out the dinosaurs and pushes for new ways of thinking.
But when Galloway spoke at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit this summer, he sounded downright Jurassic when he said of remote work: “You should never be at home. That’s what I always tell young people. Home is for seven hours of sleep and that’s it … You need to be out of the house.”
As if the pandemic never happened, right?
Galloway, who teaches marketing and co-hosts the popular Pivot podcast, believes the amount of time spent at home is inversely correlated with “success professionally and romantically.”
Yet his recent comments, since going viral, have reignited the debate over remote work, its social impact and whether older generations (Galloway is 58 years old) are out of touch with the challenges and choices of Gen Z.
The Galloway fallout
Galloway has some fair points. Relationships are the currency of a successful career, the professor has argued on his podcast and in media appearances. He’s also expressed concerns about the rise in loneliness and decline in mental health for young people.
Yet mental decline can be just as attributable to stress from micromanagement in the office, for example. As Galloway’s comments went viral on TikTok, as users on the platform pushed back on the professor’s comments, focusing on the economic climate and costs associated with commuting.
“This is total BS,” said one user. “Hustle culture with a sprinkle of consumerism.”
Other comments discussed the high cost of rent and shelter to justify staying at home or the expenses associated with traveling and eating while going into the office.
“You step out of the house and spend $100,” said one user.
The cost of housing was another key factor for many in the comments section.
“If I’m paying more than a quarter [of] monthly rent, I’m enjoying my space,” one user said.
All this moved one BuzzFeed article to observe it had “never seen Gen Z and millennials come together so heated.”
Other TikTok commenters pointed out that online dating meant workers didn’t need to go out to find relationships and that the proximity to family and pets was better for happiness and life satisfaction, even if it dragged their careers.
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Is remote work here to stay?
Despite the pushback from some workers, several business leaders seem keen on getting workers back into the office. JP Morgan, Citibank and Goldman Sachs have all called employees back to work in the second half of the year, while even tech companies like Snap and Tesla have clamped down on remote work.
More than half (58%) of Americans work from home at least once per week, according to research by McKinsey. And by 2025, 36.2 million Americans may be clocking in from the comfort of their home, according to an Upwork study.
Another study found that remote work may impact collaboration, on-the-job learning and output because employees were less likely to receive feedback from peers. The paper was put together by economists from Harvard, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the University of Iowa.
On the other hand, a researcher from Stanford University suggests a hybrid work environment is the way to go. Coming into the office a few days a week while working from home the rest of the time could help employees collaborate and develop relationships with their co-workers without having to give up the flexibility of remote work.
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