The CEO of Dropbox has a 90/10 rule for remote work


Drew Houston, the CEO of file storage company Dropbox, is continuing to tout a predominantly remote work culture, even as business leaders increasingly call for their workers to return to the office.

Dropbox uses a 90/10 rule, with 90% of the year spent on remote work and the remaining 10% spent on a handful of employee off-sites, the company's CEO told Fortune in an interview published Sunday.

Houston added that his company first started using the 90/10 approach in 2021.

The San Francisco-based company — which had over 3,000 employees before a round of layoffs — does not require its workers to be present in the office. The company first announced it was becoming a "virtual first" company in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, making remote work the default for workers.

"I'd say, 'your employees have options. They're not resources to control,'" Houston told Fortune when asked about what message he had for CEOs who believe in RTO mandates.

"You need a different social contract, and to let go of control. But if you trust people and treat them like adults, they'll behave like adults. Trust over surveillance," he added. 

Houston cofounded Dropbox in 2007 and is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $2.1 billion.

His approach marks a significant contrast to other business leaders, such as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

Dimon — whose company requested some employees to be in-office five days a week and was tracking attendance by monitoring ID swipes — told the Economist in July: "I completely understand why someone doesn't want to commute an hour and a half every day, totally got it. That doesn't mean they have to have a job here either."

To be sure, Dropbox's transition to a virtual first work culture hasn't been all positive. Former employees told Insider in 2022 that it meant the loss of perks that were seen as key to employee retention — like the company's famously posh cafeteria.

"Obviously the company wants to spin it really positively," a former employee who left in 2021 told Insider, adding that virtual first meant fewer options for people who enjoy going into the office.

Dropbox and Houston did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, sent outside regular business hours.

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