Dropbox CEO's rule for remote work: 90/10.

Exploring the paradigm shift to remote work and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston's vision for post-pandemic working model.


The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated a workplace revolution, challenging traditional norms and heralding the era of remote work. Now, with most businesses eyeing a return to physical offices, the conversation has turned towards achieving a balanced blend of remote and onsite work. Dropbox's CEO, Drew Houston's 90-10 rule offers an innovative guideline.

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Houston’s 90-10 Rule

Dropbox CEO

Dropbox's 90-10 rule is a proposed working model that suggests spending 90% of the time working remotely and 10% in the office. According to Houston, this model could become the norm by 2023. However, the switch won't be straightforward.

Striking the Balance

The challenge lies in integrating remote and in-office work to create a hybrid model. Finding the correct balance is an intricate task. Employers need to pay heed to many factors, including employee comfort, productivity, and work-life balance.

The Remote Work Benefits

Remote work has delivered a newfound freedom to employees around the globe. It not only eliminates commute times but also allows for greater flexibility, like the ability to schedule work around personal commitments. People are experiencing benefits in terms of work-life balance and mental health.

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Office Spaces and Collaboration

The 10% in-office work model emphasizes the importance of physical offices for certain tasks. Houston believes that onsite work enhances collaboration, something that is a challenge to replicate in the remote work setting. It’s for activities benefiting from real-time collaboration and creativity sparking interactions.

The Hybrid Future

The world is ultimately heading towards a hybrid future, a blend of remote and office work. Even technology giant Google has revealed its similar 3/2 flexi week, where employees would spend three days in the office and two days working from wherever they wish.

Adapting to Change

Adapting to a new working model requires companies to redefine their values, cultures, and operating procedures. Managers have to learn how to supervise remote teams effectively. Companies also need to invest in proper tools and technologies to facilitate seamless remote work.

Challenges of Remote Work

Remote work does pose certain challenges. Not all employees may enjoy working in solitary environments; some may miss the office camaraderie. Also, a lack of a designated physical office might make it difficult to draw boundaries between personal and professional lives.

Overcoming the Challenges

The key is to embrace a more flexible and empathetic approach. Managers can deploy strategies to promote e-camaraderie, such as virtual coffee breaks or get-togethers. Companies can provide support for home-office setup or offer coworking memberships to facilitate transition.

Redefining Corporate Culture

Determining corporate culture in a remote work setting is a challenge. Companies will need to rethink their strategies to promote core values, nurture their teams and build a strong sense of community in a virtual world.

Flexibility as a Recruiting Tool

Flexibility is not just a lifestyle choice anymore; it is a strategic advantage. Many companies find that candidates are more attracted to roles offering flexible work arrangements. About 40% of people would even prefer a job with a lower salary if it offered the option to work from home at least some of the time.

Remote Work and Productivity

Concerns about productivity are often cited against implementing widespread remote work. However, a study conducted by Stanford showed that remote work can lead to a 13% increase in productivity. It appears working from home, contrary to common belief, can actually boost productivity.

Role of Technology

The possibility of remote work has been enabled by advancements in technology. High-speed internet, cloud storage, video conferencing software, project management tools, and the rise of digital nomadic lifestyles have all made it possible to work efficiently from any location.

The Evolving Office Spaces

As companies shift towards a hybrid model, office spaces are changing too. Instead of individual cubicles, the focus is turning to communal spaces to facilitate connectivity and creativity when employees do come to the office. Companies could turn to office designs that inspire collaboration and encourage serendipitous encounters.

Legalities and Complexities

Implementing wide-scale remote work also involves deciphering complex legal implications such as tax-related issues for employees working in a different state or country. Companies will need to navigate these issues to ensure a successful transition to remote work.

Revision of Company Policies

Companies pivoting to remote work need to reconsider their existing policies. This may include updating work hours, data security, work-life balance, mental health support, and overtime compensation. Necessary amendments would need to reflect and accommodate the new working conditions in order to make the new model sustainable.


While the pandemic let the genie out of the bottle, a return to exclusive office work seems unlikely. The 90-10 model or similar flexible work arrangements offer a sustainable way forward, serving both employee wellbeing and productivity. The workplace of the future signifies a meaningful blend of physical office and remote work, embracing the best of both worlds.