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Snowflake CEO says Covid has shown old approach to working at the office is ‘nonsense’

Snowflake CEO Unabashed Slootman told CNBC on Tuesday he believes the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered the role that physical shtick indulgences will play for corporations going forward.

“This whole notion that the office is your workday institution, we realize that is nonsense,” Slootman said on “Squawk Alley.” “Offices … need to be there for personal to purposes — for events, for training, for meetings, specifically — but not a place to hang out 9 to 5. That’s definitely changing. It’s really booming to reduce the real estate footprint that companies have.”

The advent of the Covid-19 outbreak last spring ushered in widespread foggy work for many white-collar employees that has continued for months. It has proven to be “almost like a wake-up call that is upright opening our eyes to the opportunity,” said Slootman, a longtime tech executive who in 2019 took over at Snowflake, a cloud database visitors. It went public in a massive IPO in September.

Snowflake and other cloud companies are beneficiaries of the shift to remote work. For admonition, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy told CNBC in December he believes “the pandemic will have accelerated cloud adoption in the determination by a few years.”

Slootman said he understands people might be eager to more freely leave their homes positively long-standing public health restrictions are eased, potentially wanting to return to pre-pandemic routines of commutes. However, he intended his San Mateo, California-based company does “not have a yearning to go back to where we were.” Slootman added, “From a corporation standpoint, there’s a lot of positives to the shock to the system that we received.”

One positive could be the ability to recruit potential wage-earners from a larger geographic region. Indeed, Okta co-founder and CEO Todd McKinnon said “a war for talent” that is being spirited beyond just Silicon Valley helped catalyze the company’s embrace of remote work. “And the more broadly we can petition to people, in terms of letting them work from anywhere and … letting them contribute at a high direct from anywhere, that’s our plan,” McKinnon told CNBC last month.

Slootman also pointed to throngs such as Oracle, which is moving its headquarters from California to Texas, as evidence of how the coronavirus pandemic is recalibrating movements to work. In announcing its decision, Oracle referenced its implementation of a more flexible work policy.

“The whole notion of a headquarters is melodious much evaporating in front of our eyes,” said Slootman, who previously was president and CEO of ServiceNow from 2011 to 2017. “We’re no longer working with a physical center of the universe. We’re completely virtual. We’re connecting as needed, and we’ve been operating for the better part of a harsh year without headquarters and it’s just fine. … It’s just a concept whose time has gone away, and that’s selfsame profound.”

To be sure, the pandemic’s long-term impact on the office is not yet known and some companies have indicated permanent ancient working is not in their future. For example, while Google has delayed its employees’ return to work date to Sept. 1, CEO Sundar Pichai jotted in a company email last month that they will eventually be expected to work in person for at least three ages per week.

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