Salesforce's Marc Benioff says CEOs have been surprised by employees' desire to work remotely

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said Wednesday some corporate executives have been surprised by employees' desire to continue working from home.
  • "The phenomenon that I see happening globally is not as many employees are coming back into their offices locally as any CEO expected," Benioff told CNBC's Jim Cramer.
  • The comments on "Mad Money" came after Salesforce released better-than-expected second-quarter earnings.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told CNBC's Jim Cramer on Wednesday that some corporate executives have been surprised by employees' desire to continue working from home.

"A lot of things have changed for our customers in this new world, whether it's Europe or the United States, and one of them is really return to work," Benioff said in an interview on "Mad Money." "The phenomenon that I see happening globally is not as many employees are coming back into their offices locally as any CEO expected."

Benioff's comments came shortly after the enterprise software maker reported second-quarter financial results, with revenue and earnings per share topping Wall Street's forecasts, according to Refinitiv. San Francisco-based Salesforce also raised its full-year guidance following its acquisition of communications app Slack.

While Benioff said Salesforce's business is strong and he was out traveling for work again, the executive believes the Covid pandemic fundamentally changed aspects of the corporate world.

"You're really starting see some very low attendance numbers in offices because employees are so productive at home. They can do their job at home. They can be successful from anywhere. The companies and our customers are successful. It's incredible, but the way they're being successful has completely changed."

Executives have taken different approaches to phasing out Covid-era remote work policies, with some placing a greater emphasis on returning to the central office than others.

Salesforce is among the companies to give employees significant flexibility around where they work on a permanent basis once the pandemic ends. Benioff, who also co-founded Salesforce, previously told CNBC he expects about 50% to 60% of the company's staffers to work remotely post-Covid, up from about 20% before the health crisis.

Many other large corporations that had planned to accelerate return-to-office plans this fall have delayed such efforts as a result of the highly transmissible delta variant, which sparked a resurgence of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S.

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