More than two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the work-from-home life that began as a necessity has emerged as the new (and preferred) normal for millions of Americans. A February report from Pew Research Center reveals that among those employees who do have the option to return to an office, 61% are choosing to remain remote.
But not everyone is on board. On Thursday, Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin said that he brought his workers back into the office because he thinks that innovation and creativity suffer in a remote workforce, Newsweek reports.
Griffin shared his point of view at a conference hosted by Bloomberg Intelligence, in response to a question about how Covid has altered the way hedge funds work. The billionaire lamented the “big loss” of connectivity as a result of Zoom meetings and noted that all Citadel employees have returned to the office with the exception of those in a few jurisdictions in Asia.
“And that collaboration within our four walls I think has been an incredibly important part of our success story over the last two-and-a-half years,” Griffin said. “It’s something that I wish all of corporate America would embrace because what you see, and there are more and more studies emerging on this — innovation and creativity fall in a remote workforce.”
When asked if the required return to in-person work has resulted in resignations, Griffin admitted that it has in a “handful” of cases, but that overall, employees have adapted surprisingly well. According to Griffin, when employees were informed they could work from home during the Omicron surge, “most people kept coming to work.”
Griffin went on to say that people are “creatures of habit” who “create new habits pretty quickly,” and, ultimately, appreciate the value in separating work life from home life.
Naturally, many disagree with Griffin’s perspective, with some going as far to say that those who believe everyone should work in person are the ones who need to stretch their creative muscles.
“The only thing holding back flexible work arrangements was a failure of imagination,” Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings, told The New York Times. “That failure was remedied in three weeks’ time in March 2020.”
Citadel is leaving Chicago and moving to Miami
In a note to employees on Thursday, Griffin said that Citadel will leave its Chicago headquarters and move to Miami, per the Chicago Tribune. Citadel has 1,000 employees in Chicago; it will continue to have an office in the city, but many of its employees will make the transfer to Florida, where Griffin is from, and where the CEO recently moved with his wife and their children.
“Chicago will continue to be important to the future of Citadel, as many of our colleagues have deep ties to Illinois,” Griffin wrote in the note. “Over the past year, however, many of our Chicago teams have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world.”
What is Griffin’s net worth?
Griffin is an American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur and investor who is the founder, CEO, co-chief investment officer and 80% owner of multinational hedge fund Citadel LLC, founded in 1990; he has an estimated net worth of $29.6 billion.
According to the Chicago Tribune, he is the wealthiest man in Illinois and “has long been a civic force in Chicago.” He has donated more than $1 billion to organizations such as the Art Institute, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Science and Industry. But Griffin has also been an outspoken critic of the city in recent years, citing increasing crime and violence as one of many factors playing into Citadel’s Miami move.