One of the larger news stories to break today is the behemoth IBM telling their staff of nearly 400,000 employees that if they want to keep their job that they have to now show up, physically, in an IBM office:
As part of the new policy, employees who work remotely will need to pack up their laptops and everything else and return to a company office if they want to keep their jobs.
This was one of the larger conversations that happened with our small (but growing!) team in our Slack Channel as we have friends and colleagues that work at IBM.
I can only imagine what the conversations might be like internal to IBM and how much this is impacting the culture and overall morale of the business and teams. It’s nothing short of suck.
This is even more confounding since IBM has long-been a pillar of the telecommuting shift in corporate work and life and they have promoted and advertised not only better work as a result but significant cost-benefits. In 2009, they said:
Successful telework is directly correlated with a higher job satisfaction, lower absenteeism and turnover costs.
And unsurprisingly, in the last 8 years since IBM did their own internal studies, countless more from other organizations of every size as well as global and industry studies have shown the exact same result.
Regardless of IBM’s position, I think it’s worth mentioning explicitly that our company believes in remote. The founders have built successful ventures previously using remote staff and teams and we’re all very much part of the larger open source community having built software at scale with folks that we’ve never, physically, shared an office with.
This is not to say, of course, that all companies need to support telecommuting as every organization and team needs to decide for themselves what is going to work the best. I just thought that it was important, especially now as we are growing our team and culture that we express this philosophy outright.
And what’s beautiful is that our team can live out our organization values regardless of where they sit physically. We can measure, iterate, execute and help our customers succeed via our homes, a coffee shop, a coworking office, and in any geographic region we want.
I want to say that I understand IBM’s move toward removing this as a functional piece of how their staff gets work done but I can’t. And sure, I suppose it’s directly aligned with the fact that they’ve had 20 straight quarters of declining revenue (YoY), but, I believe they can do much better without having to hamstring their employees.
I imagine that the next few weeks we’ll see more blog posts, just like this one, reacting to IBM’s announcement and I actually think that’s a good thing.
People and companies should visibly fight for their team’s well-being when it makes clear sense and at Pinpoint we just believe in remote too much not to say something about it.