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Clearlink CEO James Clarke told employees that many remote workers have “quietly quit” and become so brazen that dozens at his company “didn’t even open” their laptops for a month, according to a video posted by Vice.
Clarke, who founded the marketing and tech company based in Utah, made the remarks this month while addressing the company’s return-to-office mandate, Vice first reported. The company has asked most of its employees in Utah to work from the office four days a week, a Clearlink representative confirmed to Insider.
Clarke also appeared to laud the work ethic of one employee who he said, “sold their family dog” in order to rise to expectations at work, contrasting it with others who he said, “quietly quit their positions, but are taking a paycheck,” according to the video of the executive’s meeting with employees that was posted by Vice, where part of his speech could be heard.
“In one month, this year alone, I got data that about 30 of you didn’t even open or crack open laptops,” he said in the video. “And those were all remote employees, including their manager — for a whole month.”
At one point, he also appeared to question whether employees with caregiving responsibilities could be as committed to their jobs, addressing arguments about the subject.
“Many of you have tried to tend your own children, and, doing so, also manage your demanding work schedules and responsibilities,” he said in the video.”And while I know you’re doing your best — some would say they’ve even mastered this art — but one could also argue that generally, this path is neither fair to your employer, nor fair to those children,” he added.
“Now, I don’t necessarily believe that, but I do believe that only the rarest of full-time caregivers can also be productive and full-time employees at the same time,” he said.
A company representative declined to comment on Clarke’s comments, saying it was a matter of “internal Clearlink business,” but offered a general statement.
“James Clarke could not be more excited about the future of the company that he founded over 20 years ago, to which he returned in 2022 as CEO,” the Clearlink representative said.
“We look forward to having these team members join us at our new world-class Global Headquarters in Draper, UT and appreciate the efforts of all of our committed team members–which includes those who work in office and those who will continue to work remotely–as we accomplish our best work together,” the statement said.
Clearlink is a private company with 800 employees, a company representative told Insider.
Clarke’s critiques of remote work echoed some common-CEO grievances in recent months about the phenomenon. Banking-industry leaders — including JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon and Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman — are among those who have called for employees to return to the office, arguing for the benefits of working in person. (Business Insider).