Billionaire Tech CEO Scott Farquhar Is In No Rush to Return to Office

"Their work is a vocation not a location," said Atlassian CEO Scott Farquhar, who allows his staff to work from anywhere.

Scott Farquhar
Atlassian CEO Scott Farquhar at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 06, 2022 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

From Meta (META) to Amazon (AMZN) to Google (GOOGL), Big Tech CEOs are changing their tones on remote work and calling their employees back to the office for at least a few days a week. But one tech billionaire doesn’t care for the whole return-to-office trend. Scott Farquhar, the founder and CEO of the Australian software company Atlassian, only goes to the office once every three months. Farquhar told Australia’s 60 Minutes in an interview aired Aug. 27 that he and most of his employees work remotely and he doesn’t see any problems.

“I work from home all the time. I might come into the office about once a quarter,” Farquhar said.

Atlassian is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and has offices in the U.S., India and several other countries. In August 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the company implemented a hybrid work policy that allowed Atlassian staff to work remotely from any of the 13 countries where the company had a legal entity. In the past year, more than half of new Atlassian employees lived more than two hours from the office, Farquhar said.

In recent weeks, high-profile tech executives including Mark Zuckerberg and Marc Benioff have talked up the benefits of in-person collaboration as their companies issue return-to-office mandates. Even Zoom, the poster child of remote work, recently required employees to be in the office at least two days a week. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said in a recent company meeting that remote working made it difficult for employees to get to know each other and build trust.

Farquhar hasn’t noticed any harm to productivity or company culture as a result of hybrid working.

“Their work is a vocation, not a location, and so we expect people to be able to work from home, from a cafe, from an office, but we don’t really care where they do their work—what we care about is the output that they produce,” he told 60 Minutes.

Atlassian makes online collaboration software for businesses. The company is traded on Nasdaq and boasts a market cap of $52 billion. Atlassian’s stock price has jumped nearly 60 percent this year, thanks to strong sales growth. Farquhar’s net worth is estimated at $12 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Billionaire Tech CEO Scott Farquhar Is In No Rush to Return to Office