Striking the right balance between in-person and remote work

Despite employees' desire for flexibility, Ajay Banga, former Mastercard CEO, says in-person work remains crucial to building personal connections.
By: | February 14, 2023

In a new remote work era where finding the balance between in-person and remote work has becoming a pressing concern, the key to success is to avoid rigidity when it comes to flexibility, said Ajay Banga, Vice Chairman at growth equity investor General Atlantic.

Banga, who previously served as CEO of Mastercard for 11 years and later as the organisation’s Chairman, is an advocate of in-person collaboration. However, he acknowledged that it should not come at the expense of giving employees the flexibility they need and stressed that this balance is crucial for creating an equal work environment for employees who prefer to work remotely more often.

“Clearly people are crying out for flexibility in their working lives right now. The ability to understand the need for that flexibility, but then to not flip over to, ‘therefore let’s just do it all digitally,’ that to me is a balance,” Banga added.

READ: Remote work leads to increased productivity

He however, is quick to highlight the importance of not sacrificing the benefits of in-person work for the convenience of remote work. In an interview with Fortune, he said that remote work is still “a pretty productive way to get stuff done” but added that it is difficult for employees to establish the personal connections and networks that are crucial for success and productivity.

Banga also pointed out the prevalence of proximity bias, which can limit the career advancement opportunities of remote employees, particularly women and people of colour. He recommended sustainable hybrid work arrangements where all employees are in the office for two designated days, but emphasised that these should allow for ample flexibility and reorganisation.