L’Oréal CEO Nicolas Hieronimus is not a fan of remote work, and he’s making that message known loud and clear.
While speaking at the World Economic Forum on Jan. 17, Hieronimus said that L’Oréal recently brought employees back into the office after Covid, with the option to work remotely two days a week. He then stated that it is “very, very important” for employees to work together, as he has observed negative qualities of remote workers.
“We’re a creative industry, and I know so many employees of so many other companies than L’Oréal that have been working from home for months, that have absolutely no attachment, no passion, no creativity,” he said.
The CEO also spoke on the sidelines of the forum saying that in-office work is “vital” and that remote work can also be damaging to mental health, according to The Telegraph.
“I think it’s vital to be in the office,” he said. “It’s about serendipity. It’s about meeting people. And it’s also more fair to workers because we have lots of young people who have small houses or have young kids and working from home is actually very bad for their mental health.”
Hieronimus also reportedly said that the return to in-office work is “fair to the blue collar workers that work every day in the factory.”
A display shelf of L’Oréal products at a store.
L’Oréal, which owns brands such as Lancôme, Urban Decay and Yves Saint Laurent, began its return-to-office plan in May 2020 shortly after the first wave of Covid hit, which led to widespread lockdowns across the nation.
“The world of beauty is not a remote or virtual one,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, then-president and CEO of L’Oréal USA, in a leaked memo on May 28, 2020.
The in-office effort in 2020 caused backlash from the company’s employees who cited safety concerns as the pandemic was still ongoing at that time.
L’Oréal then started offering incentives to help encourage workers to return to the office. In 2022, it was also reported that L’Oréal started offering its employees in its California office a new concierge service for $5 an hour to have their chores such as dry cleaning or fetching a pet taken care of while they were away.
Executives at companies have been ramping up efforts to usher their employees back into the office in recent years. According to a recent survey by KPMG, which polled 1,300 global CEOs, 64% of CEOs predict a full return to the office by 2025. Also, 87% of CEOs “are likely to reward” employees who return to the office “with favorable assignments, raises or promotions.”
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