DuPont Scientists Pull Night Shifts as CEO Rethinks Office Space

With scientists tinkering in laboratories late into the night and a legion of dealmakers working remotely from home to complete a $26 billion merger, DuPont Co. is taking a long, hard look at its need for office space.

Chief Executive Officer Ed Breen said his eyes were opened into potential savings on real estate after seeing how the integration work for the merger of DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences unit with International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. has stayed on track despite Covid-19. A special team is looking into opportunities, he said.

”I’m a big believer you should be in the office interacting with people, but I don’t think it has to be where we are there every single day,” Breen said. “So we’re taking a hard, hard look at that and probably will make some decisions before we exit the year.”

The coronavirus pandemic is prompting dramatic changes in working practices that would have been unthinkable to DuPont’s past generation of leaders.

At the company’s research hub in Delaware, most of the 2,000 employees are scientists who have abandoned their offices and only venture in for lab work. To avoid the risk of spreading the virus, they alternate shifts to work in the morning or afternoons, or through the night into the early hours, Breen said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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