No Joke: Your CEO Probably Loves Working From Home As Much As You Do

We asked JG Summit Chair Lance Gokongwei.

ceo work from home
PHOTO BY website/jg summit ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

( With the pandemic seemingly far from over, most companies are still implementing a work-from-home scheme. This means rolling out of bed just 15 minutes before logging online, knowing that you don't have to deal with the hopeless traffic jam every morning. But for Lance Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer of JG Summit Holdings, it also means having more time to spend with his family, work out, and even listen to podcasts.

"I realize how much I don't miss that [going out for work]," he says in a virtual roundtable discussion with Summit Media on December 15. Pre-pandemic, he would be on a plane up to three times a week for business trips. He would leave for work at 8 a.m. and come home at 10 p.m. He would also only have a couple of meals a week with his family because of his busy schedule. "Now they see me breakfast, lunch, dinner," he adds.


He is also clocking in more hours at their home gym. "I can wake up at 7 and do the workout in the morning," he says, especially since his weekdays are no longer spent going from one business trip to another or sitting in traffic to get to another meeting.

The 54-year-old also discovered the wonders of podcasts, which he listens to while exercising. Some of his go-to podcasts include ‎The Ringer NBA Show, The Bill Simmons Podcast, Malcolm Gladwell's, and "a lot of murder stuff."

Gokongwei owes this efficiency of remote work to advances in communication. He has gotten so used to meeting with his colleagues through Zoom or Teams—all from his standing desk at home, of course. "I can be equally productive by avoiding the commute," he says. Still, he misses the person-to-person interactions, especially for brainstorming or throwing around ideas.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai on December 13 announced that the Silicon Valley company is testing the idea of a "flexible work week," where employees are required to work only three days a week in the office. They have gone as far as pushing this possible return to the workplace to September 2021, more than one year since they shifted to working from home in March.

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