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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Return to office or exit the company, IBM consulting issues new directive

IBM Consulting has issued a new directive requiring its US-based executives and people managers to report to its corporate offices at least three times a week – failure to do so will have consequences.

This is according to an email to staff sent by John Granger, SVP of IBM Consulting. In the email, Granger notes that the directive is a company-wide policy that extends beyond the Consulting division and those that don’t comply can “separate from IBM.” A polite way to say they will get the axe, I imagine.

This is not the first time IBM has ordered its employees back to the office. The company issued a similar policy in 2022, one which employees believed was a smart move to push them out without directly laying them off.

Ever since Covid 19 forced people off work premises, there’s been a lot of debate on whether companies should embrace the new work model or return to the old model.

IBM seems to be leaning toward a hybrid model in which employees work from home on certain days and report to the office on other days. According to Granger, face-to-face interaction is critical if you want to stay ahead in the market.

“Winning in the marketplace demands our collective focus and alignment on innovation, speed, and execution. We believe alignment includes face-to-face interaction as it drives the engagement, productivity, and the culture we need to bring world-class client services and products to market," the SVP wrote.

However, once again, the move is being seen as an effort to reduce labour costs without directly firing individuals.

An employee speaking on the matter labeled it as “attrition by design” noting that the IT giant would have to spend some money to relocate and promote lower-band (younger) employees but would save money overall by shedding more experienced, more expensive workers.

Still, IBM will be moving ahead with its plan and only those with eligible exceptions like medical conditions or military service can continue working remotely full time.


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