Michael Dell: ‘Yes, Remote Working Is Absolutely Here To Stay’

Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell poses the question, would you rather be forced to work in the office every day or have the option of remote or hybrid working? ‘This is not really a hard test,’ Dell says.

Michael Dell On The Future Remote Workforces

When IT visionary Michael Dell gives his foresight on technology trends and market predictions, people take notice.

Since creating Dell as a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, Michael Dell’s uncanny technology vision has molded the company into Dell Technologies, a $94 billion infrastructure and PC giant. Now in charge of over 165,000 employees worldwide, Michael Dell has no doubt if remote working will continue in a post COVID-19 world.

“Yes, it’s absolutely here to stay,” said Dell in an interview with CRN.

According to a survey conducted by Indeed on U.S.-based IT professionals who worked in the office before COVID-19 and have since switched to full-time remote work, an astounding 96 percent of all technology workers believe working from home is here to stay in some capacity. Furthermore, approximately 60 percent of tech workers said they were willing to take a pay cut in order to continue working from home, while 55 percent said if they change jobs, they’ll need one with flexible or hybrid work options.

Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell explains to CRN why the new remote workforces created by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 12 months are here to stay.

Will the remote workforce stay intact in a post-COVID-19 world?

Yes, it’s absolutely here to stay. Let’s set the scene here: in a time when everybody has had a vaccine, assuming they wanted it – which I recommend by the way, if you can get a vaccine, get your vaccine – the COVID vaccines are plentiful and we’re not really worrying about the virus like we have in the past.

Imagine two hypothetical companies.

One company says, ‘Everyone is back in the office all the time – five days a week. I expect you to show up at 8 a.m. in the morning and stay for the day.’ Another company says, ‘You know what? We’re going to provide flexibility to our workforce. There might be certain days when we decide that we’re all going to come together because we want to collaborate in person, but other days, you can work from wherever you want. You can work from home. If you want to come into the office you can, but you’re not required too. You’re going to have flexibility.’

Now, which company do you think is a more attractive place to work? This is not really a hard test.

Will tech companies continue to allow remote and hybrid work for employees post-COVID-19?

We’re not going to dictate the answer for other companies, but what we definitely see is this hybrid, work from anywhere situation is going to continue.

If someone had proposed this before coronavirus, there would have been all kinds of reasons why you couldn’t do this: it’s too hard, it’s impossible, etc. But we had to do it and now we have learned behaviors that I believe will continue on with us.

I was meeting with a group of our partners via Zoom yesterday, and everybody is use to meeting this way. People are happy meeting that way and it works well. I think the remote and hybrid work is absolutely going to continue.

Does the new remote workforce create opportunity for Dell?

[It] creates new demand opportunities as everybody says, ‘Wow, I’d like to have a really capable home office. And if we do go back into the office for sometime, we haven’t been in the office for like a year or a year and half by the time we get there, what technology in the office?’ It’s like ancient stuff. So there’s a big upgrade cycle there to equip the office.

It used to be that you would leave your house to go to work or to school or to the store or to entertainment, and now people have – even as we can now see the other side of the pandemic – people have learned behaviors of the new digital world. It’s work from anywhere, do from anywhere – that world is here to stay. I believe the available opportunity for us is expanding.

Dell’s PC sales growth last year was unprecedented. Can it continue in 2021?

Yes. We believe the PC demand environment will continue to improve, it’s already off to a strong start.

There still are millions of children around the world who still need PCs. We estimate 16 million in the United States alone don’t have either the right device or right kind of access. Right now, there’s a lot of focus on infrastructure at the federal government level and that includes broadband infrastructure, particularly rural broadband. There will be great opportunities continuing this year and beyond. We continue to invest in innovation and we’re focused on the whole workforce enablement, but also technologies like cloud, 5G, AI and all of that gives people much greater flexibility to work and play from anywhere.