Recession USA 2020

BlackRock may never be 100% back in the office, Larry Fink says (NYSE:BLK)

BlackRock (BLK -1.7%) CEO Larry Fink believes the coronavirus has triggered a paradigm shift in terms of where people will be working, a development that’s resulted in a “better paradigm.”

I don’t believe BlackRock will be ever 100% back in the office,” he said at the Morningstar Investment Conference. “I actually believe maybe 60% or 70%, and maybe that’s a rotation of people.”

He calls the realization that employees can work from home “one of the great humanistic discoveries.”

The CEO of the world’s largest asset manager does worry that the shift may hurt the company’s culture. “Cultures were not meant to be done in a remote fashion, and culture is what binds and unifies us as an organization,” he said.

“Through technology we’ve been operating really well, really efficiently. But I really am worries about this whole idea of culture.”

What that paradigm shift means for office REITs is still to be seen; with many employees working remotely, companies will need less office space if that model becomes permanent; some, though, argue that companies will need more office space for the employees that do return to the office in order to accommodate physical distancing restrictions.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon sees long-term economic and social damage from long stretches of working from home; his firm has noticed productivity slipping from employees that work from home and “alienation” among younger workers.

See BLK’s revenue per employee and net income per employee vs. JPM’s:

Of course, the proof of who’s correct will be in how those numbers change over time and how their models change.

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