Warren Buffett questions the need for office space

Berkshire Hathaway boss predicts fundamental change in demand and supply

National /
May.May 05, 2020 01:30 PM
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (Buffett by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (Buffett by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

The Oracle of Omaha foretells an existential challenge for office space.

At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting on Saturday — held this year via live stream from an empty arena — CEO Warren Buffett quipped that it had been more than seven weeks since he had put on a tie. And the extended period of remote work may affect more than just clothing choices.

“The supply and demand for office space may change significantly,” Buffett said. “A lot of people have learned that they can work at home, or that there’s other methods of conducting their business than they might have thought from what they were doing a couple of years ago. When change happens in the world, you adjust to it.”

Throughout the event, which lasted more than four hours, Buffett made his case for a bullish view of the U.S. economy in the long term. He also praised the government’s Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses — while acknowledging some of the controversies around its administration.

“It must be hell to administer,” he said. “It just isn’t that easy to inaugurate incredibly large [programs]. There’s going to be a certain amount of fraud.”

Buffett also said that his firm — whose holdings include Geico, Dairy Queen, railroads and energy companies — may need to lay off some workers in the short term. He also said that front-line health care, delivery and food-service workers deserve higher wages and more respect.

Economic fallout from the coronavirus has also led the legendary investor to dump his entire stake in airline stocks.

“We like those airlines but the world has changed…and I don’t know how it’s changed,” Buffett said at the meeting. [WSJ] — Kevin Sun


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Jerry Bruckheimer and his penthouse (Getty, Douglas Elliman)

Jerry Bruckheimer lists Miami Beach penthouse for $17M

Jerry Bruckheimer lists Miami Beach penthouse for $17M
Jimmy Buffett and 309 Garden Road (Getty, Denise A. Hanley)

Selling paradise: Jimmy Buffett gets $7M for Palm Beach home

Selling paradise: Jimmy Buffett gets $7M for Palm Beach home
Oprah Winfrey and (inset) Lawrence Stroll over the unit (Getty)

You get a condo! Billionaire Lawrence Stroll sells Oprah’s former Fisher Island penthouse

You get a condo! Billionaire Lawrence Stroll sells Oprah’s former Fisher Island penthouse
Stephen Marley with 27440 Southwest 187th Avenue (Getty, The Carroll Group)

Jammin: Son of Bob Marley buys Homestead estate

Jammin: Son of Bob Marley buys Homestead estate
Jarrett Posner, Pablo Escobar with 5860 North Bay Road (The Waterfront Team)

Pablo Escobar’s former Miami Beach property sells for $11M

Pablo Escobar’s former Miami Beach property sells for $11M
Pharrell Williams and David Lerner with a photo of 2545 Northwest Third Avenue and a rendering of the Billionaire Boys Club exterior (Getty, Google Maps, Lerner Family Properties)

Pharrell’s Billionaire Boys Club to open store in Wynwood

Pharrell’s Billionaire Boys Club to open store in Wynwood
20200 West Dixie Highway, Miami with Harry Dornbusch and Dr. Joshua Lampert (Google Maps)

Aventura office condo owners allege construction defects at Beacon Tower

Aventura office condo owners allege construction defects at Beacon Tower
Commissioner Ricky Arriola (iStock)

Miami Beach asks for offers to develop lots near Lincoln Road

Miami Beach asks for offers to develop lots near Lincoln Road
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...