Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary doesn’t mind if the employees at his 54 companies work from home — which he certainly doesn’t think is “immoral.”
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When asked if working from home is unethical, the Canadian entrepreneur — who is reportedly worth $400 million — simply replied, “No.”
It follows a rant from Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk, who questioned whether it was the “moral right” for some people to work from home while others, such as delivery drivers and factory workers, could not.
“[It’s] “It’s a productivity issue but it’s also an ethical issue,” Musk said in an interview with CNBC. “People should get off their moral high horse with their work from home because they’re asking everyone not to work from home while they’re doing it.”
O’Leary is more open to politics—a tactic that may make him more popular with employees, as a recent study from McKinsey & Company found that 87% of the American workforce would choose to work somewhat flexibly if given the opportunity.
McKenzie added, “Employers are wise to invest in technology, adapt policies, and train employees to create workplaces that integrate people who work remotely and onsite.”
“The world has changed,” O’Leary told CNN. “The economy has changed, the work ethic has changed. We’ve been through an extraordinary period during the pandemic — the idea of splitting up HQ and letting people leave HQ to work from home wasn’t even considered. It was seen as too risky.
“It is now a proven and effective method or project management.”
O’Leary highlighted that Musk’s situation differs from many of the companies he owns: “In the case of Elon, to be fair about what he’s talking about, when you’re at a highly engineered company like Tesla or SpaceX I get the idea that you want collaboration between engineers.
“They just sit around trying to solve design problems or whatever.”
However, O’Leary said that fact is “unrelated” to the 10 other sectors of the economy that have already made the decision to experiment with more hybrid business models.
Breaking Hybrid Math
O’Leary highlighted that his 54 companies operate in nearly every state and sector, and said that 40% of those companies “never go back” to the office.
He added, “Before the pandemic, I was very lucky in the core portfolio to make 15% free cash flow before tax. Today, that same portfolio, post-pandemic, with 40% of employees working remotely worldwide, to make 17.5% free cash.” This represents a 20% increase in free cash flow.
“So you can’t tell me this isn’t working, in fact, I want to do more of this because I’m lowering my real estate costs.”
Shark tank makeover
In preparation for the start of the 15th season of Shark Tank, O’Leary said economic shifts have affected the number of entrepreneurs approaching him for investment.
“We have a record number of applications and there’s one reason for that. It’s back in 2008 when we started. There’s no venture capital money available right now. The entire banking system has shut down because of Silicon Valley and other failures and this is a period of high prices.”
“We’re going to see an amazing influx of deals this year – far greater than ever before – but terms, I’m licking my chops.”
This story originally appeared on Fortune.com
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