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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says ‘not all going back’ to the office


Marc Benioff, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce, speaks at an Economic Club of Washington luncheon in Washington, DC, on October 18, 2019.

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said on Tuesday that there’s no returning to the pre-pandemic workplace.

Benioff, in an interview on stage at the Code Conference held in Beverly Hills (California), said, “I’m sorry for all my friends but we are not all going back.”

Benioff’s comments on the future office are especially noteworthy considering that his company opened its massive 61-story tower in San Francisco just three years ago. There are also large buildings located in Tokyo, London New York, and New York.

They were constructed prior to Benioff’s 18-month trial period in which he could see how well his company, and other companies can work with workers working remotely from their homes.

Benioff stated that there are almost 75,000 employees now. “They are not in their towers. These towers are beautiful. Their homes are mostly theirs, which is fine.

In July, Salesforce closed the $27.7 billion acquisition of Slack, its largest purchase ever. Slack’s software helps workers stay in touch through calls and chat messages and, along with products from companies like Zoom and Microsoft, has become a central piece of the pandemic portfolio.

Benioff declared, “We won’t go back. And that’s why you Slack.”

Benioff previously told CNBC that he expects 50% to 60% of Salesforce employees to work from home even after the pandemic.

His views about remote work were not shared by his peers, Benioff stated on Tuesday. Benioff stated that CEOs at large corporations call Benioff and tell him they would like their workers to return to work. He assures them that the work place will look different with employees gathering at events and off-site meetings.

Benioff said that such a model is already used by some companies. Automattic, owner of content-management software WordPress, has no physical headquarters but brings employees together at an Airbnb listing once a month, Benioff said. Automattic is backed by Salesforce Ventures.

Salesforce hosted its annual Dreamforce conference last week. Most of the sessions were held virtually. Benioff stated that approximately 1,000 people attended the conference in San Francisco. More than 170,000 people attended this year’s conference. It was the last one prior to the pandemic.

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