Dropbox CEO Drew Houston is something of an anomaly, one of the few CEOs of a major tech company that still believes in remote work.
In the wake of the pandemic, CEOs across the tech industry have been pushing for their employees to come back to the office. Some have settled for a couple of days a week — at least for now — while others have tried to force a full return.
In an interview with Fortune, Houston made clear his belief that remote work is the future and that CEOs should try to force their employees back at their own peril.
“I’d say, ‘your employees have options,’” Houston said when asked what message he had for his peers. “They’re not resources to control.”
“From a product design perspective, customers are our employees. We’ve stitched together this working model based on primary research,” he told Fortune. “We’ve just been handed the keys that unlock this whole future of work, which is actually here.”
Houston also emphasized the importance of trusting employees and treating them like adults rather than resorting to surveillance.
“You need a different social contract, and to let go of control,” he said. “But if you trust people and treat them like adults, they’ll behave like adults. Trust over surveillance.”
Houston’s approach is a refreshingly enlightened approach among CEOs.