IBM issues ultimatum to managers: relocate for in-office return or leave the company

midian182

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Staff member
A hot potato: It's not just average workers who are being forced to leave the comforts of home. IBM has given an ultimatum to its remote managers: get back into the office or a client location for at least three days per week or find another job. The company's message to those who live too far away to comply with this demand? Move closer.

IBM made its get-back-or-get-lost demand in a company-wide memo sent on January 16 that was seen by Bloomberg. The demand that managers report to a location at least three days per week is "regardless of current work location status."

The memo made it clear that no managers will be able to avoid the mandate as badge-in data will be used to assess individual presence and shared with HR.

Managers who don't live close enough to travel to an IBM facility three days per week must relocate near an office by the start of August. A person familiar with the rule said this generally means within 50 miles. There will be exceptions, but only for the likes of medical reasons and military service.

Senior Vice President John Granger wrote in the note that any managers who refuse to relocate or can't secure a position at the company that's approved for remote work must separate from IBM.

An IBM spokesperson confirmed the memo's contents to Bloomberg. "IBM is focused on providing a work environment that balances flexibility with the face-to-face interactions that make us more productive, innovative and better able to serve our clients," they said. "Consistent with that approach, we're requiring executives and people managers in the United States to be in the office at least three days per week."

Like many companies, IBM has gone back on its promise of not forcing workers back into the office. CEO Arvind Krishna said in May that it wouldn't happen, but he also warned that those who do work remotely will likely find promotions harder to come by.

Back in September, one of IBM's divisions, IBM Software, mandated that anyone living within 50 miles of an IBM office had to work at the location at least three days per week.

Many workers are so against returning to an office, even if it's for three days per week, that they would rather quit and find another job. It's been happening a lot at Amazon, which has faced huge pushback from employees over its RTO mandate.

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Nope ... make them fire you .. then group up 1000 fired employees and sue them. IBM has been successfully sued multiple times for S####Y business practices in the last couple years. They would at least bump the severance significantly as a settlement to keep out of the papers.

 
My genuine question to everyone who wants to continue remote working.....what are you going to do when everyone goes to in person again? There are only so many jobs that are fully remote and there are an ever increasing number of people who want them. You ARE aware of what happened to manufacturing jobs after NAFTA, right?

Anecdotally and on forums like Blind, we've already seen the anticipated outcome. Wages for remote work are falling because there are too many workers. People have moved into my town and jacked up prices for the last 2 years, and now face possible bankruptcy from selling at a loss or a 2+ hr commute to their now no longer remote job.

So what is the plan exactly?
 
Some remote workers just want cry and whine when they are asked to come back. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Cry until you get your way. To all those cry babies, get over it and do your job! So tired of hearing how remote workers are refusing to go back in to an office. Acting like babies. Get off your high horse and go to work.
 
My genuine question to everyone who wants to continue remote working.....what are you going to do when everyone goes to in person again? There are only so many jobs that are fully remote and there are an ever increasing number of people who want them. You ARE aware of what happened to manufacturing jobs after NAFTA, right?

Anecdotally and on forums like Blind, we've already seen the anticipated outcome. Wages for remote work are falling because there are too many workers. People have moved into my town and jacked up prices for the last 2 years, and now face possible bankruptcy from selling at a loss or a 2+ hr commute to their now no longer remote job.

So what is the plan exactly?

Sure, let me answer you.
In my current team even, if everyone will return to office, we will continue to communicate via internet. We are working in a large team on pretty huge software solution, and developers are spread through many location, so the only benefit with the return to office will be free lunches. There is no fellow team member nearby, and that doesn't make any issue due to the work organization and good planning.
I live close to my office (20 minutes walk) and I was there last year maybe 5 times. Will be going more often because probably my company will go stupid as well at some stage and possibly change their policy for reason unknown, but a few things are sure:
- my performance will be inevitable worse in the office. I wont be able to spend half+ of the day on pair programming / working on solution with my team members, because in open space this would be asking for a trouble.
- The ergonomic of those open spaces are not remotely as good as my personalized working space in my home office. Few hours in office makes my back ache. and no, you can't fix your wok desk, because it is open space. Tomorrow you will be somewhere else...
- Working on a problem requires focus. People walking around you, asking you things, or on a loud calls (and yes, I can be as well on a loud call) are very distracting and for complex problem solving it means I need to pt more notes and time to handle disruptions.
- Managers have weird need to feel important, and often trying to make a small talk or check where to put you instead, maybe a small side project or other crap I have no time for at times you are busy with something else. The only reason for that are mostly their need for micromanagement and insecurity, so they simply try to do anything, which in the end is stupid.

In general, if the work is well planned and with clear focus, throwing resources into a big space together will create issues, not solutions. This benefits no one. I would rather do the pair programming over the screen share, than having another fat bstrd breathing on my neck.

And sure, this is not for every industry - but for anything software related, there is no issues with remote work.

I had some arguments made by some board members. One was that when they started working in corpo, they were walking to people, talking to them, and that was a way to get the knowledge and otherwise it would be very difficult to progress. To which I say - absolutely, I agree... 20 years ago we havent had any good itnernet, and screen share tech was nearly non existing, there was only Skype but just for a calls... but we are not 20 years ago. We are in totally different position, and all the guys mentally stuck in 20 century and trying to apply that approach in today world do not understand how the world has changed.

There are two valid reasons to go (sometimes) to office: customer communication (requirements gathering) and knowledge transfer (both external and internal). And I am very happy to share my knowledge with juniors, but I swear, if I work on a nested issue and someone tap my back and asking 'hi, listen, how can I change fonts in my IDE?' he is not going to have a nice time. KT is great stuff IF done well and planned. I don't mind to spend half day every week on a planned session with some topics and open questions, but, if I work, I want quiet, focus, comfort, and that is not something office offers to anyone.

And as for the salary (not wage, wth? I guess this kinda indicates you're looking from a different perspective) it was constantly increasing at higher pace for me than before pandemic. Additionally, that is not a salary issue - I do not mind have a lower salary, but working comfortably from a remote town or a village, than higher salary in a system I do not find comfortable. And salary is a result of your skills - if there are more skilled people then that's obvious salary difference will be lower, and that's good as well.

And comparing manufacturing jobs and developer jobs is kinda meaningless. I can do developer job better at home than in office, manufacturing - not so much. Unless I live on factory floor, which is a wet dream of Musk I presume.
 
My genuine question to everyone who wants to continue remote working.....what are you going to do when everyone goes to in person again? There are only so many jobs that are fully remote and there are an ever increasing number of people who want them. You ARE aware of what happened to manufacturing jobs after NAFTA, right?

Anecdotally and on forums like Blind, we've already seen the anticipated outcome. Wages for remote work are falling because there are too many workers. People have moved into my town and jacked up prices for the last 2 years, and now face possible bankruptcy from selling at a loss or a 2+ hr commute to their now no longer remote job.

So what is the plan exactly?

its not going to happen. Top IT talent dictates their terms of work. Companies want us. We dont have to settle for the companies that require in office work.

Many companies realized the backlash of mandating return to office and immediately regretted it and reversed those decisions.

I know folks like to talk tough like "go to work or get fired" but thats just them being jealous and not understanding the industry.

Good managers and companies can evaluate folks based on objectives and performance. My company (which is a very large financial organization that nearly everyone in the world interacts with) has been remote even before covid and we continue to push out profits as we dont have fake middle management pretending to be important. We empower employees.

Additionally, even if I went to the office, my team is global. There is no one at my office I interact with, its a complete wasted concept for folks like us that work on global teams.

Folks who cant cut it wfh are immediately weeded out and replaced.

Ive also been promoted 4 times working remotely, because we evaluate based on objectives and performance, not screen time or how long I sat in a cubicle.

When you are good at your job in IT, its not a "find another job if you dont like it" scenario its more of a "ill just go get a pay raise somewhere else and continue to wfh" situation.

Its not for everyone either, I get that. And not all professions can do it, but many can and its ok. We tend to work harder than office workers anyway. I know I get a lot more done when I wfh compared going into the office and all the distractions, listening to coworkers drone on about their weekend, kids, drama, etc. Coffee breaks, pretending to be busy, etc.

When I wfh, I put in many more hours as there is no seperation from work and home. You work later, you work weekends, you start earlier and to me thats ok to save me the commute anyway.

There is no situation where wfh becomes not a thing, the cat is out of the bag and many companies have realized its good for them.
 
Sure, let me answer you.
In my current team even, if everyone will return to office, we will continue to communicate via internet. We are working in a large team on pretty huge software solution, and developers are spread through many location, so the only benefit with the return to office will be free lunches. There is no fellow team member nearby, and that doesn't make any issue due to the work organization and good planning.
I live close to my office (20 minutes walk) and I was there last year maybe 5 times. Will be going more often because probably my company will go stupid as well at some stage and possibly change their policy for reason unknown, but a few things are sure:
- my performance will be inevitable worse in the office. I wont be able to spend half+ of the day on pair programming / working on solution with my team members, because in open space this would be asking for a trouble.
- The ergonomic of those open spaces are not remotely as good as my personalized working space in my home office. Few hours in office makes my back ache. and no, you can't fix your wok desk, because it is open space. Tomorrow you will be somewhere else...
- Working on a problem requires focus. People walking around you, asking you things, or on a loud calls (and yes, I can be as well on a loud call) are very distracting and for complex problem solving it means I need to pt more notes and time to handle disruptions.
- Managers have weird need to feel important, and often trying to make a small talk or check where to put you instead, maybe a small side project or other crap I have no time for at times you are busy with something else. The only reason for that are mostly their need for micromanagement and insecurity, so they simply try to do anything, which in the end is stupid.

In general, if the work is well planned and with clear focus, throwing resources into a big space together will create issues, not solutions. This benefits no one. I would rather do the pair programming over the screen share, than having another fat bstrd breathing on my neck.

And sure, this is not for every industry - but for anything software related, there is no issues with remote work.

I had some arguments made by some board members. One was that when they started working in corpo, they were walking to people, talking to them, and that was a way to get the knowledge and otherwise it would be very difficult to progress. To which I say - absolutely, I agree... 20 years ago we havent had any good itnernet, and screen share tech was nearly non existing, there was only Skype but just for a calls... but we are not 20 years ago. We are in totally different position, and all the guys mentally stuck in 20 century and trying to apply that approach in today world do not understand how the world has changed.

There are two valid reasons to go (sometimes) to office: customer communication (requirements gathering) and knowledge transfer (both external and internal). And I am very happy to share my knowledge with juniors, but I swear, if I work on a nested issue and someone tap my back and asking 'hi, listen, how can I change fonts in my IDE?' he is not going to have a nice time. KT is great stuff IF done well and planned. I don't mind to spend half day every week on a planned session with some topics and open questions, but, if I work, I want quiet, focus, comfort, and that is not something office offers to anyone.

And as for the salary (not wage, wth? I guess this kinda indicates you're looking from a different perspective) it was constantly increasing at higher pace for me than before pandemic. Additionally, that is not a salary issue - I do not mind have a lower salary, but working comfortably from a remote town or a village, than higher salary in a system I do not find comfortable. And salary is a result of your skills - if there are more skilled people then that's obvious salary difference will be lower, and that's good as well.

And comparing manufacturing jobs and developer jobs is kinda meaningless. I can do developer job better at home than in office, manufacturing - not so much. Unless I live on factory floor, which is a wet dream of Musk I presume.

Musk said when the new tesla comes out he expects folks to sleep on the factory floor so... you are correct about that.

Just wanted to say that but I also agree with nearly everything you said. Im not a developer but I work with many. I work on the security side.
 
Some remote workers just want cry and whine when they are asked to come back. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Cry until you get your way. To all those cry babies, get over it and do your job! So tired of hearing how remote workers are refusing to go back in to an office. Acting like babies. Get off your high horse and go to work.
Cant imagine why someone wouldnt want to go sit in an office with you.
 

Musk said when the new tesla comes out he expects folks to sleep on the factory floor so... you are correct about that.

Just wanted to say that but I also agree with nearly everything you said. Im not a developer but I work with many. I work on the security side.
Well if someone can build a Tesla in a WFH fashion then I really want them to show me how.

But I am in agreement that if you can do your job at home then the company is wasting money on commercial real-estate.
 
Too many babies that got spoiled with work from home during the pandemic. Go back to the office or lose your job! You ain't going to win a lawsuit. Companies have every right to ask for their employees to show up for work.
 
You are Assuming just because somebody said that companies have rights, that they are flipping burgers somewhere which is just making an *** out of yourself. I work at one of the most expensive luxury hotels in Upstate S.C. and I enjoying going to work ever day and giving our customers the best quality service. If some people are not happy that that they have to return to the office then quit and find another job where you will be happy. That really is your only option if you don't want to go back to work. But my point was from a legal standpoint it's going to really hard to convince a jury in a lawsuit that it's unfair for an employer to ask you to come in to work. Good Luck with that.
 
You are Assuming just because somebody said that companies have rights, that they are flipping burgers somewhere which is just making an *** out of yourself. I work at one of the most expensive luxury hotels in Upstate S.C. and I enjoying going to work ever day and giving our customers the best quality service. If some people are not happy that that they have to return to the office then quit and find another job where you will be happy. That really is your only option if you don't want to go back to work. But my point was from a legal standpoint it's going to really hard to convince a jury in a lawsuit that it's unfair for an employer to ask you to come in to work. Good Luck with that.
Oh yes, the lawsuit is a stupid idea and I never mentioned that, not a single time.
Saying that I said someone is flipping burgers because they said companies have rights is making an *** out of yourself because that isnt what happened.

Your post was anything but a rational response calling people spoiled. Many of us show up for work more wfh than you do in the office and showing up in person.

I see you are backpeddling a bit now. You assume people who work from home are lazy, not showing up for work and not working. Thats a really big assumption that makes you appear completely unreasonable.

I probably put more hours than you do and I wfh. You just want to demean, belittle and patronize folks who have a more favorable work condition than you because.... jealousy.
 
If you don't like the terms of your employment, it's quite simple. Go find another job. Too many of you Gen Z folks think that your sh@t doesn't stink and that your current employer can't go on without you. I've got news for you. Everyone is replaceable, especially the delusional ones who thing they're so indispensable.
 
Sure, let me answer you.
In my current team even, if everyone will return to office, we will continue to communicate via internet. We are working in a large team on pretty huge software solution, and developers are spread through many location, so the only benefit with the return to office will be free lunches. There is no fellow team member nearby, and that doesn't make any issue due to the work organization and good planning.
I live close to my office (20 minutes walk) and I was there last year maybe 5 times. Will be going more often because probably my company will go stupid as well at some stage and possibly change their policy for reason unknown, but a few things are sure:
- my performance will be inevitable worse in the office. I wont be able to spend half+ of the day on pair programming / working on solution with my team members, because in open space this would be asking for a trouble.
- The ergonomic of those open spaces are not remotely as good as my personalized working space in my home office. Few hours in office makes my back ache. and no, you can't fix your wok desk, because it is open space. Tomorrow you will be somewhere else...
- Working on a problem requires focus. People walking around you, asking you things, or on a loud calls (and yes, I can be as well on a loud call) are very distracting and for complex problem solving it means I need to pt more notes and time to handle disruptions.
- Managers have weird need to feel important, and often trying to make a small talk or check where to put you instead, maybe a small side project or other crap I have no time for at times you are busy with something else. The only reason for that are mostly their need for micromanagement and insecurity, so they simply try to do anything, which in the end is stupid.

In general, if the work is well planned and with clear focus, throwing resources into a big space together will create issues, not solutions. This benefits no one. I would rather do the pair programming over the screen share, than having another fat bstrd breathing on my neck.

And sure, this is not for every industry - but for anything software related, there is no issues with remote work.

I had some arguments made by some board members. One was that when they started working in corpo, they were walking to people, talking to them, and that was a way to get the knowledge and otherwise it would be very difficult to progress. To which I say - absolutely, I agree... 20 years ago we havent had any good itnernet, and screen share tech was nearly non existing, there was only Skype but just for a calls... but we are not 20 years ago. We are in totally different position, and all the guys mentally stuck in 20 century and trying to apply that approach in today world do not understand how the world has changed.

There are two valid reasons to go (sometimes) to office: customer communication (requirements gathering) and knowledge transfer (both external and internal). And I am very happy to share my knowledge with juniors, but I swear, if I work on a nested issue and someone tap my back and asking 'hi, listen, how can I change fonts in my IDE?' he is not going to have a nice time. KT is great stuff IF done well and planned. I don't mind to spend half day every week on a planned session with some topics and open questions, but, if I work, I want quiet, focus, comfort, and that is not something office offers to anyone.

And as for the salary (not wage, wth? I guess this kinda indicates you're looking from a different perspective) it was constantly increasing at higher pace for me than before pandemic. Additionally, that is not a salary issue - I do not mind have a lower salary, but working comfortably from a remote town or a village, than higher salary in a system I do not find comfortable. And salary is a result of your skills - if there are more skilled people then that's obvious salary difference will be lower, and that's good as well.

And comparing manufacturing jobs and developer jobs is kinda meaningless. I can do developer job better at home than in office, manufacturing - not so much. Unless I live on factory floor, which is a wet dream of Musk I presume.
That's a lot of good reason, from your perspective, to continue WFH. Doesnt really answer my question though. If companies start demanding office work, do you plan on competing with a larger labor pool for a smaller number of remote jobs? Not sure why you took issue with the word wage, bruh its a word just chill.
its not going to happen. Top IT talent dictates their terms of work. Companies want us. We dont have to settle for the companies that require in office work.

Many companies realized the backlash of mandating return to office and immediately regretted it and reversed those decisions.

I know folks like to talk tough like "go to work or get fired" but thats just them being jealous and not understanding the industry.

Good managers and companies can evaluate folks based on objectives and performance. My company (which is a very large financial organization that nearly everyone in the world interacts with) has been remote even before covid and we continue to push out profits as we dont have fake middle management pretending to be important. We empower employees.

Additionally, even if I went to the office, my team is global. There is no one at my office I interact with, its a complete wasted concept for folks like us that work on global teams.

Folks who cant cut it wfh are immediately weeded out and replaced.

Ive also been promoted 4 times working remotely, because we evaluate based on objectives and performance, not screen time or how long I sat in a cubicle.

When you are good at your job in IT, its not a "find another job if you dont like it" scenario its more of a "ill just go get a pay raise somewhere else and continue to wfh" situation.

Its not for everyone either, I get that. And not all professions can do it, but many can and its ok. We tend to work harder than office workers anyway. I know I get a lot more done when I wfh compared going into the office and all the distractions, listening to coworkers drone on about their weekend, kids, drama, etc. Coffee breaks, pretending to be busy, etc.

When I wfh, I put in many more hours as there is no seperation from work and home. You work later, you work weekends, you start earlier and to me thats ok to save me the commute anyway.

There is no situation where wfh becomes not a thing, the cat is out of the bag and many companies have realized its good for them.
My counterpoint: if you can do your job, fully remote, why would I pay you a large western wage when I can pay someone from SE asia $20k a year for the same work? It happened to tech support and phone banks in the 90s, there's no reason it cant happen to you. H1Bs are brought in to replace IT talent all the time.
 
Lest we forget, these companies are paying Big Bucks for utilities and property tax, even with the buildings (nearly) vacant.
I guess they are not getting enough from those write-offs anymore, huh?
 
Some remote workers just want cry and whine when they are asked to come back. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Cry until you get your way. To all those cry babies, get over it and do your job! So tired of hearing how remote workers are refusing to go back in to an office. Acting like babies. Get off your high horse and go to work.

It's simple capitalism - if you're valuable enough you do get your way. Better pay, better prospects, and yes, better conditions. Work hard enough, improve yourself, make a name for yourself, and you too can sit on a high horse. Only a fool wouldn't, if the wind is blowing the right way.
 
My problem with this is not a general requirement such as "this is an in-person position", but with specific representations IBM may have made in the past (according to this article) that it is now seeking to change unilaterally.

If IBM made specific statements to employees that they relied on while adjusting to IBM's first change (closing offices during the pandemic and telling employees to set up a productive WFH situation), it would be good form to at least shoulder the expenses involved with the change in policy now.
 
That's a lot of good reason, from your perspective, to continue WFH. Doesnt really answer my question though. If companies start demanding office work, do you plan on competing with a larger labor pool for a smaller number of remote jobs? Not sure why you took issue with the word wage, bruh its a word just chill.
My counterpoint: if you can do your job, fully remote, why would I pay you a large western wage when I can pay someone from SE asia $20k a year for the same work? It happened to tech support and phone banks in the 90s, there's no reason it cant happen to you. H1Bs are brought in to replace IT talent all the time.
Because folks in SE asia cant do my job for 20k a year nor would they.

Curious if you work in the industry and have experience with off shore help?
 
Nothing is better than Hybrid workplace...

I plan all my workloads for days in office for not dying of boredom and we are doing Teams meetings in our cubicles because all the meeting rooms are booked...

Not to mention that I need to wake up at 0530 to dodge traffic and I waste a good 1 hour and half transiting.

This is so worth it! We are emitting CO2 to have our a$$ in a chair office on the premise to manage the insecurities of our managers. All this just to end up teleworking in office!

So worth it... /SARCASM
 
Lots of long winded posts. Just get back to work, be glad you have a job and quit crying
Hey, not my fault if you are a customer service employee.

As for me, I don't need to be in office to do Microsoft Office work...

So please, don't compare my reality to yours, because you are jealous of my 135 000$ salary...
 
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