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Iconic commercial real estate executive Sam Zell has seen the future of remote work – and he claims there is no future in it for anyone who wants a career in commercial real estate.

According to a report, Zell told the audience at last week’s REIT Symposium sponsored by New York University that the remote work had no place in today’s office environment.

“I think all of the discussion about work from home is basically a bunch of bulls**t,” Zell said. “I don’t know how a young person who wants to be recognized, who wants to be rewarded for superior effort, can do so if the person who makes the decisions about them doesn’t see them at work.”

Zell, the founder and chairman of Chicago-based Equity Group Investments, recalled how his business responded to the Covid crisis.

“On the first day of Covid, nobody was in our office,” he said. “Six months later, everyone was in our office—and they have been for over two years. One of the biggest lies in the world is that people working from home are more productive than people working in the office. You have much less productivity if you’re working from home in your pajamas with three little kids running around than if you’re in an office.”

Zell went further, declaring that younger employees have a great deal to lose by not interacting in person with their colleagues.

“Young people need to develop their skills and you can’t develop those skills if you’re not in the office,” Zell said. “There’s an enormous difference between a Zoom board meeting and a meeting in person. A Zoom board meeting is a board meeting where everyone sits and listens to recitations. An in-person meeting is where the real discussion takes place.”

Photo courtesy Equity Group Investments