- Elon Musk isn't the only person who's been vocal about a disapproval of remote work culture.
- VCs like Keith Rabois have also expressed their preference for bringing workers into the office.
- Rabois recently told Protocol that "ambitious people want to work IRL."
Elon Musk isn't the only person who doesn't like remote work — many investors agree.
Protocol's Allison Levitsky recently talked with a range of venture capitalists who view in-office work as important, including investor Keith Rabois, a partner at Founders Fund and member of a group of early PayPal co-founders and employees known as the PayPal Mafia.
In May, Rabois tweeted that he was "Looking to fund IRL startups." (IRL is an abbreviation for "in real life.") In a follow-up message to Levitsky, Rabois said he was "only investing in startups that are primarily IRL."
When asked about the idea that some companies can't afford to lose potential talent by enforcing an in-office policy, Rabois was not convinced, Protocol reports.
He told Levitsky he "wouldn't hire any of those people," and that "ambitious people want to work IRL."
Rabois's pushback to remote work comes at a time when many workers are pushing to continue having the option, and companies who allowed it during the pandemic are deciding what their policies will look like moving forward. According to ADP Research Institute, 64% of workers surveyed said they would consider looking for another job if their employer asked them to return full-time.
While Protocol talked to other investors who argued that asking workers to return to the office shouldn't be a big deal, not everyone agrees, and the debate has spilled over onto Twitter, giving the public a glimpse into how executives and investors view the issue.
In a response to Rabois's tweet about only funding IRL startups, Jeremy Stoppelmann, cofounder and CEO of Yelp, tweeted that Rabois's tweet was the "Equivalent to 'looking to fund startups running Windows95.'"
"Legacy office operating system has been disrupted, time to live in the future and fully embrace remote," he added.
Rabois replied to Stoppelmann, saying, "I don't believe one can build most successful companies from *scratch* remotely at all. And even most of the founders who run a public company today who have remote policies agree with me when we discuss." Rabois did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.
Rabois's sentiments on remote work echo those of Musk, who at the beginning of June sent an email to employees at Tesla requiring that all executives spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office each week.
"Tesla has and will create and actually manufacture the most exciting and meaningful products of any company on Earth," Musk wrote. "This will not happen by phoning it in."
As the Twitter discourse between Rabois and Stoppelmann shows, various big-name companies are divided on a return-to-office or a fully-remote work culture.
Major banks like Bank of America, and tech giants like Apple are pushing for more in-office work, at least for some days of the week.
After a planned return-to-office in May, Apple ended up suspending the requirement for now, reportedly because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases. That same month, Ian Goodfellow, a machine learning director at Apple, left the company due to its return-to-work policy.
But along the same vein as Stoppelmann, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the era of the office is over.
"It's kind of like an anachronistic form," Chesky said in an interview with Time's The Leadership Brief. "It's from a pre-digital age."