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IBM asks remote workers to return to the office

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A group of remote workers at IBM have a decision to make, after the company gave them 30 days to decide whether to relocate to a regional office – or leave the company. Bringing employees back into the office is supposed to improve collaboration and accelerate the pace of work.

The move, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, can be considered an ironic one, given that IBM is in the business of promoting and enabling a remote workforce through its software and services. The company has previously published studies on the merits of remote working, and boasted that more than 40% of its employees worked outside of a traditional office.

The news follows previous media reports of remote workers being asked to return to the office, after IBM decided to “co-locate” 2,600 employees in its US marketing department to one of six major offices in the country. Anyone working from home or from a different IBM office was asked to commute, relocate, or leave.

The company has not revealed how many of its 380,000 employees are affected by the new policy.

In an emailed statement to Human Resources magazine, an IBM spokesperson said: “IBMers have worked, and will continue to work, in a variety of ways. Some work from IBM offices and labs, some work in client locations, some will continue to work remotely.  In fact, thousands of IBMers still work from home full-time and will continue to do so.”

The spokesperson added that the company is recognising the changing nature of work, with an increased focus on agile development and speed. With that in mind, the company has asked select North America employees in certain roles to work in the office with their teams.

“The vast majority of IBMers are already working this way, and bringing more teams into shared environments is a natural extension of this way of working,” she stated.

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