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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Dell’s return to office policy is not mandatory but, no promotion for remote workers

In a significant shift of stance, Dell has introduced a stringent return-to-office policy, triggering a wave of discontent among its workforce.

The company's new mandate, unveiled in February, imposes punitive measures for employees opting to work remotely, sparking criticism from within and beyond the organization.

Under the revamped policy set to take effect from May, Dell employees will be categorized as either "hybrid" or "remote." Hybrid workers are mandated to spend a minimum of 39 days per quarter in an approved office, translating to roughly three days per week, according to internal documents reviewed by a popular publication.

However, for those preferring remote work, the trade-offs are stark. Fully remote employees will forfeit opportunities for career advancement and job mobility within the company. A leaked memo from Dell bluntly states, "For remote team members, it is important to understand the trade-offs: Career advancement, including applying to new roles in the company, will require a team member to reclassify as hybrid onsite."

Unsurprisingly, the news has not been well received among Dell employees. Speaking anonymously, one staffer voiced widespread discontent within the company, revealing, "The entire company has been complaining about this behind closed doors." Another employee lamented, "We're being forced into a position where either we're going to be staying as the low man on the totem pole... or we can be hybrid and go in multiple days a week, which really affects a lot of us."

In defense of its controversial directive, Dell contends that in-person interactions coupled with a flexible approach are crucial for fostering innovation and delivering value differentiation. However, the sudden pivot represents a stark contradiction to the company's previous stance on remote work.

Founder and CEO Michael Dell had been a vocal advocate for remote work, publicly criticizing companies mandating return-to-office policies.

In an interview prior to the policy shift, Dell had affirmed his support for remote work, even setting ambitious targets for remote workforce participation. Until March 2023, Dell championed remote work, expressing aspirations for 60% of its workforce to operate remotely on any given day.


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