March 3, 2024

Ex-NYC Mayor Bloomberg Says Too Many Federal Employees Work From Home

  • Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks federal workers should not work from home.
  • Employee absences have “negatively affected customer services” at some federal agencies, he wrote in a WaPo opinion piece.
  • His opinion about remote work echoes those of JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and other corporate leaders.

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has had it with US government employees working from home.

The billionaire and cofounder of Bloomberg LP, the financial-data and media company, wrote in a Tuesday opinion piece for the Washington Post that employees working from home have “negatively affected customer service” at some federal agencies.

“Some people argue that remote work for federal employees isn’t a problem. Tell that to the taxpayers who are footing the bill for empty floor space and the costs of maintenance,” he wrote.

Civil servants working remotely is “especially troubling” because the federal government is a monopoly, he added.

“In the private sector, if remote workers do a poor job, business suffers and customers take their spending elsewhere. In the public sector, people just have to put up with poor service,” he said.

He cited a report released in July from the Government Accountability Office that shows the average occupancy rate across 24 federal agencies measures just a little more than 20% — or, as Bloomberg put it, “mostly empty.”

“This has gone on too long. The pandemic is over. Excuses for allowing offices to sit empty should end, too,” Bloomberg wrote.

At Bloomberg LP, more than 80% of employees work in the office at least three days a week, as requested, he added. The firm will be increasing the number of days in the office to four days a week starting in the fall, Bloomberg added.

“Our managers have seen the benefits of returning to in-person work, and we have heard about those benefits from their teams, too, especially from young people just starting their careers,” Bloomberg wrote. “When senior managers are not present to mentor and nurture junior staff members, it hurts their professional development and prospects for career growth — and the future of the organization, too.”

Forbes estimates Bloomberg’s net worth — which comprises a 88% stake in his eponymous company — at $94.5 billion. Bloomberg News doesn’t cover its parent company, and by extension, doesn’t list its tycoon founder on its billionaires index.

Bloomberg’s opinion piece comes amid a furious, ongoing debate about the future of remote work as the world exits from the COVID-19 pandemic. And he’s not the only billionaire business magnate to criticize post-pandemic, work-from-home arrangements.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, too, is an outspoken advocate of the return to office movement, echoing Bloomberg’s comments that younger workers would benefit from mentorship opportunities in person.

Billionaire investor Marc Andreessen said in February younger employees are “cut off from everything”— including work relationships and opportunities — due to remote work.

In a May interview with CNBC, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk went so far as to say remote work is “morally wrong.”

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