The Drawbacks of Working from Home According to Israeli High-Tech Companies
Switching to remote work makes life harder for Israeli innovative startups: employers have to outsource
more tasks, making deals is more complicated, and small companies have trouble hiring staff.
“Unfortunately, you can’t feel the Israeli entrepreneur’s energy through the computer screen in ZOOM.”
The remote work many companies had to switch to due to COVID-19 pandemic considerably disrupts
the corporate culture and forces the Israeli high-tech industry to simply survive. This sad conclusion can
be made based on the survey involving 200 start-up companies.
According to the survey conducted by Yael Binyamin jointly with Leum-Ytech, Yigal Arnon, Intel Agenite,
Zel Entrepreneurship Center and Benson Oak Ventures Foundation, today, 87% of start-ups fully or
partially work from home. 44% of companies went even further and reduced their real estate area or
completely cancelled their lease agreements. Before the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, enterprises
fought for spacious offices and invested a lot of money in them, while today the demand for real estate
has dropped dramatically.
Despite the savings owing to the fact that there is no need to buy or lease an office, remote work
negatively impacts the corporate culture of surveyed organizations. 79% of companies reported a
moderate harm to their work processes, 22% of companies reported a considerable harm. 50% of
respondents believe that the employee’s position won’t matter in the future, while 29% of them
presuppose that they will use the outsourcing services more often with time.
According to Tzachi Weisfeld, director of Intel Accelerators program, remote workforce has a
destructive effect on start-ups and business corporate culture on the whole.
“Taking into account what we’ve found out, not only start-up experience remote work problems. This
model of employment makes the workers of any company exhausted,” Weisfeld explains. “Moreover,
remote work slows down the innovation process since there are no more discussions in corridors or
over a cup of coffee. There’s no spontaneity that helps generate ideas. It is hard to hold the employees’
attention and interest. Companies usually arrange all kinds of events and meetings, and today we all
have to sit at home, and our communication is limited. It has a destructive influence on start-ups.
Google and Facebook had created the culture of working from home a long time ago, so it is much
easier for them to organize it properly. “The remote work model makes employees less devoted. The
recently achieved unprecedented level of workers’ loyalty in Israel started decreasing in view of the
global pandemic. We expect the massive transitions of employees, and this price is too high for start-
ups. People don’t like to work at home and they are less efficient there.”
The directors of Israeli high-tech companies told Calcalist that working remotely inhibits the process of
innovations development and introduction and impacts the employees’ productivity. Here is how
Shlomo Kramer, one of the most prominent entrepreneurs and investors in the industry, commented on
the situation: “People work harmoniously when they see each other physically. This is especially true
when it comes to the relationships between Israel and the USA. People want to trust each other, and
they can do it only if there’s a real connection.”
According to Yael Binyamin, the survey’s editor, the longer people work from their homes, the bigger
the impact will be on the stability of high-tech companies. “30% of companies rely on outsourcing and remote work regardless of the employee’s location. Companies hire people from different countries and
become multinational, which is a serious test for the corporate culture and team coordination. It can be
an issue since the success of Israeli high-tech industry depends primarily on the teamwork that basically
solves all the problems.”
Deals Are Harder to Make
The survey also shows that despite the statements of ZOOM’s omnipotence, the representatives of
many companies give us a completely different picture of what’s going on. Frozen flights and isolation of
Israeli entrepreneurs shuts them out of international business centers in the US and Europe.
38% of respondents complain that they can’t fly and see their clients and investors, which harms their
business. This is also proved by the foreign investors’ lower interest in young companies: 32% of
surveyed organizations felt this interest drop, and 46% of them say that it is much harder to make deals
today than it was in the past.
Despite the suffered damages, many entrepreneurs still presume that they will fly abroad in business
less often in the future, especially in the light of upcoming technological tolls that will enable them to do
business while staying at home and be as efficient as before.
Weisfeld also believes that ZOOM is not the solution to everything. “It’s difficult to stay focused and
keep the attention of others in ZOOM. Flights are cancelled and there are no spontaneous meetings,
which is awful for entrepreneurs. You can’t see the Israeli entrepreneurs’ energy in ZOOM, and it’s
definitely harder to generate sales there”, he says.