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The Billionaire Boss of One of Soccer's Most Famous Teams Tells Staff to Come Back to the Office or Look for Another Job Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe reportedly told employees that email traffic dropped 20% after one of his companies trialed work-from-home Fridays.

By Alexandra Bacon

Key Takeaways

  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a co-owner of Manchester United, is banning remote work for the club's staff.
  • The policy shift came after email traffic declined when one of his companies trialed work-from-home Fridays.
  • His hard-line approach falls in line with many big companies such as Apple, Dell, and Meta.
Getty/Bertrand Guay via Business Insider
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a billionaire who co-owns Manchester United.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a billionaire co-owner of Manchester United, has told staff he's banning working from home after key metrics were missed at one of his companies.

In an all-hands video call last week, Ratcliffe told staff they'd need to start coming into the office or "seek alternative employment," according to The Guardian.

Ratcliffe, the 103rd richest person on earth, bought a 27.7% stake in the soccer club in February, and his company Ineos took over the management of football operations. The billionaire is coming in strong by shaking off the company's post-COVID flexible work policy to boost productivity.

The policy shift was largely spurred by a dip in email traffic, The Guardian reported.

Ratcliffe told Manchester United employees that traffic dropped 20% after one of his companies trialed work-from-home Fridays.

Staff are also under fire after Ratcliffe called out the untidiness of the club's premises last week. The billionaire told staff the state of the club's IT department was a "disgrace," and other areas of the training ground weren't much better, according to The Athletic.

But the strict policy change has some challenges. The Athletic reported that the company premises in Manchester and London didn't actually have enough space to accommodate all staff coming into the office full time.

Plenty of other businesses have taken the same hard-line approach to bringing employees back to the office. Dell delivered a similar ultimatum to its employees earlier this year: return to the office, or you won't be promoted. Other companies enforcing strict return-to-office mandates include Apple, Meta, and Google.

But not everyone agrees that RTO mandates are the best way to boost productivity. Globant, a software company with 30,000 employees, is allowing all its employees to stay fully remote.

Some research has also called the effectiveness of RTO mandates into question. A recent study on S&P 500 firms by researchers at the Katz Graduate School of Business found that companies with strict RTO mandates weren't more profitable, and workers weren't necessarily more productive.

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