It's back to the office for IBMers

by Volker Weber

The Register:

IBM is cracking down on remote workers, ordering unlucky employees to either come into one of six main offices and work "shoulder to shoulder" – or leave for good.

While The Register mentions IBM Marketing, this is a broader initiative and explains some of the recent defections like Luis Benitez who worked out of his home country Puerto Rico.

IBM has been telling everybody (and itself) that location does not matter anymore and that distributed teams come together through software, but it hasn't been working well for the company. Process rules at IBM and things that seem easy are in fact very difficult. I have the utmost respect for any IBMer who gets anything done. After years of falling revenues the company is now reorganizing. Without a doubt IBM will be losing many talented people who have made other plans.

To my knowledge this IBM initiative has not been rolled out to other countries yet. Tell us if you know otherwise.

In this context it is interesting that Microsoft is working differently. Microsoft Germany doesn't count hours or days and they don't make you come to the office. It's only the results that count, not the time you put into them. It has made Microsoft one of the most attractive employers here. And it is working. From partnering to PR I see no other vendor coming close.


Yahoo also made this move, didn't they? Didn't help that much now, did it?

Frank Quednau , 2017-02-08 12:20

Well, the second envelope says "re-organize".

Volker Weber, 2017-02-08 12:53

Working from home is over rated. it would be best 30 /70

palmi Lord, 2017-02-08 13:26

Volker, I would agree with your assessment above.

Palmi, for the people in scope of this, it basically means 'move or quit'. It is certainly different in the US than in Germany and then differs vastly from person to person and circumstance to circumstance. For me, e.g. moving would not be an option due to personal circumstances, family (younger and older), obligations and assets. It might be overrated for you and your personal circumstances, it is not for me.

With moves like that, the IBM as a company certainly looses more than it gains, IMO.

Hubert Stettner, 2017-02-08 15:16

We could call this "Making IBM Great Again"... A belief that in order to restore the levels of greatness of the past we need to return to doing the things we were doing back then. Its a simplification that ignores the impact of changes that are going on around us. The global workforce is moving away from a model of 9-5 on-site work to one in which hours are more flexible, we are connected to our jobs 24 hours a day via mobile devices, and yes we are working from home or other locations outside the office. How does IBM build software for a world like this if its employees are not directly experiencing the challenges of working from home (and there are some)? And what does it do for their ability to attract talent if they are unable to offer the flexibility that is increasingly being valued (end even expected) by today's workforce?

Peter Presnell, 2017-02-08 16:01

Someone I know is now an Microsoft employee and I am extremely impressed on how they treat their employees and their operation.

Richard Moy, 2017-02-08 17:53

Honestly, it'd be nice if this was a bid to "Make IBM Grate Again", but it's pretty clear what this is (and why you'll probably see it spread to other high-salary countries without labor protections... and WON'T see it spread to lower salary countries.)
Alex, I'll take "Evil Employeement Practices for $0.
"How can we make people quit without firing them?"

Craig Wiseman, 2017-02-09 15:57

I don't think you can rule HomeOffice good or bad just like that. It depends a lot on the job role e.g. and where the other members of a team are. It also depends on the people although in my opinion if you hired s.o. you cannot trust to do his job (assuming it is a role fit for it) from a HomeOffice you probably hired the wrong person anyway.

Martin Hiegl, 2017-02-10 21:01

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