- IBM is calling all marketing employees – commuters, teleworkers and remote staff – permanently back into the office, reports Quartz. The shift back to the office came after Big Blue hired Michelle Peluso as its chief marketing officer in September.
- Quartz says the company is requiring the marketing staff to work beside colleagues on their assigned teams in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Austin and Raleigh. Employees assigned to teams outside of their locations must either relocate or resign.
- IBM has allowed employees to work remotely since the early 1980s when few employers had adopted the idea, says Quartz. By 2009, 40% of the company’s 386,000 employees around the world worked remotely. IBM already had reduced office workspace by 78 million square feet and saved nearly $100 million in the U.S.
IBM employees expressed dissatisfaction about the “co-locating” of the marketing staff, which shouldn’t surprise HR; the result could be demoralizing for much of the staff. However, Peluso seems to be betting on innovation gains by having all employees once again work in the same vicinity.
While levels of employee satisfaction with remote work tend to be high, having everyone in one place could kickstart creative solutions to old company challenges. Modern offices are built in ways that encourage comfort as well as engagement via beautiful designs, open-office formats and a variety of spaces fit for different needs, be it collaboration or solo work.
Remote work and flexibility are powerful tools that can help employees improve retention when needed. But even the best videoconferencing software today struggles to replace in-person discussions. Employers have to find a balance that works for their organization.