Do you remember IBM? This once renowned computer corporation had been unable to successfully adjust to the changing times for almost three decades, with one such example being the decision to license Windows rather than purchase it because they believed “it wouldn’t be a big deal”.
IBM has recently implemented a global policy change to the way they conduct their business, with the aim of increasing output, morale and rainbows. This change involves the consolidation of their workforce into a single room, with the phase-out of remote employment beginning on Monday of last week. This decision affects not only their North American branch, but also their European and Asian branches, as reported by The Register.
Michelle Peluso, Chief Dinosaur Officer, expressed the opinion that teams are more successful, productive, imaginative and, ideally, enjoyable when they work together in a physical space. This is akin to the conditions found in a sweatshop, which are widely acknowledged to be extremely enjoyable for all involved.
It would be amusing to spend time discussing the concept of dinosaurs working for a corporate entity directed by prehistoric creatures. However, this would not achieve anything productive or informative, as the primary objective of this blog is to provide knowledge. Therefore, let us continue reading to discover what IBM is lacking and why they are so determined to reduce the number of their remote staff.
We have not had any direct experience with IBM, nor do we know anybody who has, although we understand that those who do have are now working remotely rather than continuing with this situation. However, we have enough contacts in the industry to have heard rumors. Let us consider the areas in which IBM has not been as successful as could have been desired.
IBM’s Offices Have and Always Will Have Remote Workers
It has been speculated by an IBM worker that many employees will be asked to enter the office solely for the purpose of collaborating remotely with their colleagues from other locations.
Given the sheer size of IBM, it is likely that many employees within a particular office will have parts of their workload completed by colleagues working in different time zones. These individuals are essentially remote workers, yet due to company policy, they are required to attend the central office, thereby wasting both time and money.
Undoubtedly, this presents a favorable situation for the self-centred, traditional manager who can only feel relaxed when they are able to glance over the walls of their employees’ cubicles and observe them diligently working on their computers. Consequently, this brings us to…
IBM’s Management Is In Crisis
Another IBM employee added their opinion, stating that “supervisors have not been fulfilling their duties for a considerable amount of time”. Colleagues are likely to be the best source of information about what should be done and who has the skills required to complete the task, which means that it is not feasible to outsource the work. Management appear to be reluctant to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue, and instead opt for the easier solution of keeping everyone in the workplace.
Without a doubt, this is a major issue. To ensure that their customers are able to successfully integrate and manage their remote employees, Works provides comprehensive guidance on how to effectively incorporate these workers into their daily operations and company culture. It is essential to ensure that the appropriate tools and procedures are in place to enable remote employees to be as efficient and reliable as those based in the office, while still adhering to the same regulations, culture and process.
Do you need to assign additional managers? Yes, at least on a temporary basis. This would be beneficial in the long term, as it would result in increased productivity from staff, as well as a reduced level of stress for managers.
To Be Honest, It’s All About PR
In the early part of 2023, widespread speculation circulated through the computer industry that IBM was planning to make significant redundancies, estimated to be in the region of 14,000 employees. This was in stark contrast to the recent commitment made by IBM’s Chief Executive Officer, Ginni Rometty, to hire an additional 25,000 people.
It appears that this decision is more akin to a redundancy than a policy change. The internal leak has stipulated a timeline of 30 days to comply, which is far too brief to make such a decision whilst ensuring that it is culturally appropriate.
IBM’s intention in this instance appears to be to reduce its workforce by disguising it as a decision based on the lack of effectiveness of remote working. This behavior is utterly reprehensible.
It’s IBM’s loss in the end since they failed to anticipate changes in the workplace and as a result, they’ll likely lose talented employees.
Which is great news for us, nimble businesses that are open to remote work and the pool of highly skilled and driven individuals it attracts.