back to article Working from home could kill career advancement, says IBM CEO

IBM CEO, Arvind Krishna, isn't telling his employees that they have to return to the office, but he did warn that continuing to work remotely could mean being passed over for promotion or career advancement.  Trotting out the same old Microsoft productivity paranoia arguments that we've become accustomed to since the COVID-19 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this the guy who decided to get rid of experienced people because they were too old?

    1. sanmigueelbeer

      Here are the reasons to get fired (or RA-ed) from IBM:

      Over 60 (age)

      Over 50 (age)

      Over 40 (age)

      Over 30 (age)

      Over 29 (age)

      Over 28 (age)

      Over 27 (age)

      Over 26 (age)

      Over 25 (age)

      Been with IBM for the last 40 years

      Been with IBM for the last 30 years

      Been with IBM for the last 20 years

      Been with IBM for the last 10 years

      Been with IBM for the last 5 years

      Been with IBM for the last 4 years

      Been with IBM for the last 3 years

      Been with IBM for the last 6 months (or less)

      Top sales record for the last 10 years (or more)

      Top sales record for the last 5 years

      Top sales record for more than 6 months

      Have I forgotten anything?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Has pubic hair?

        1. Baudwalk

          As Dr. Evil said...

          ..."There's nothing quite like a shorn scrotum."

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Isn't this the guy who decided to get rid of experienced people because they were too old?

      No that illegal (in civilized countries), he got rid of experienced people because they were expensive and helped customers.


        The answer isn't simply "no", it's more like "could not be proven in a court of law" when people got sued over it.

    3. JK63

      It's been happening for decades at least as far back as Palmisano. I don't know if Gerstner's cuts were to age out older, experienced employees.

  2. 45RPM Silver badge

    My heart sings when I hear senior management from big companies trot out this old tosh. It makes applicants think twice about a career with these stuck in mud fuddy duddies - which means that the pick of the crop come to smaller, hungrier, less well known businesses. Like mine.

    So keep it up chaps. The less stuffy companies will be sure to wave cheerily as they overtake you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indeed. Though it is worrying that a company can build up so much inertia in their "prime" that they can seemingly remain to stagnate the industry for decades past their end-of-life date.

      Further exacerbated by the fact that large impressive companies tend to attract this kind of scummy upper management, poisoning the entire culture and company ethos during middle age (though IBM has always been a little stuffy but in a kind of charming way. This is something else!).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nobody is consideringa career with IBM unless you are in a "human resource rich" nation and hoping for a job with an H1B

      2. EricB123 Bronze badge

        Now that you put it that way...

        "stuffy but in a kind of a charming way"

        Roger that, good buddy

    2. CowHorseFrog

      What do you think of companies that tell you about their culture or how they want you to join the family ?


        No abductions and shotgun weddings for me, thanks.

        Mine's the one without the "Just Married" scrawled on the back.

    3. tmTM

      because if you're working from home it's harder to have your nose up the backside of management, so how will you ever progress??

  3. IglooDame

    And when staff comes back in for three days a week and productivity doesn't improve, presumably they'll insist on all five days in person? Are they going to be able to ignore productivity going down when everyone is back in the office for most of the week?

    Spoiler alert: Yes, and yes.

  4. Sparkus

    wondering if fellow travellers are working together

    Similar messages are coming out from other firms, worded in very similar ways, on the same subject.

    One might think that HR staff or the c-suite droids are coordinating their messaging on this.........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

      My employer, another three-letter American multinational which is also management heavy and mired in a treacle-like bureaucracy of its own making, has also trotted out exactly the same line.

      And as if to head off complaints, said that yes productivity was measurably up, but engagement was down and engagement was important if the business was to have a future.

      What engagement meant was unspecified, perhaps it was kool-aid consumption.

      1. Meph

        Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

        This is pure speculation, but my observations suggest that "engagement" is a buzzword that describes a middle managers KPI scores for irritating the workers.

      2. tfewster

        Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

        My team is spread around the globe. So are our internal users ("customers"). We tend to deal with the "customers" in our own time zone, but in any given week I'm likely to be working with the US, Europe and Asia. My manager is on another continent. Being in the local office 9-5 will not help me "engage" with them, it will make me less flexible in my working hours to meet the business need.

        Management in a multinational company needs to understand that, and adapt. Perhaps if IBM RA'd the management dinosaurs then they would see more productivity?

        1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

          Indeed. WTF is the point of going into the office if you are still on the laptop, talking to your colleagues and customers (because NO ONE in the office you've turned up to are in your team)? Now if you have to go to a customer site that is another matter. But then you get to see what's going on at the coal face, and that can help both your employer and the customer. But just being back in the office is an anachronistic view of the workplace.

          1. Plest Silver badge

            Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

            I go into the office these days 'cos no other bugger does, it's so quiet and peaceful plsu I get to drink free drinks and eat the company provided brekkie and biscuits all day!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

        You will be required to marry a co-worker of your choice, or managements if you leave it too long.

        Then a new "one desk, one payroll per household" policy will be rolled out.

        Better go for a same sex, or at least a sterile-permutation workmate, or they'll take your firstborn...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

          But I already married a co-worker, I can’t have another wife!

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

            You could upgrade to a different religion with better T&Cs

            A location change may be required.


        Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

        "Engagement" as in, to steal another regemite's phrasing above, engaging with the backside of management.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

      They are all facing a similar problem. Some of the staff work very well from home and are more productive than in the office. There are also lots of staff that aren't productive. The difficulty is working out if that lack of productivity is due to the task being harder than expected, the person being "incapable" or the person not working. A different response is needed for each. When they are in the office it's a little easier to see if they are actually attempting to work, whereas if they are hidden away at home they might equally well be watching daytime TV, mowing the lawn or running their own business.

      Over the years I have worked with several people who ran their own business while working for a major company. All of them would have relished being able to working from home five days a week as this would have permitted them to prioritize their own business without this being apparent to the form that is paying them a salary.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

        If an employee manages to run a side business while not showing up as non-performer in their main job then by god they deserve the double income.

        All this "back to the office" spiel is primarily driven by two things:

        1. the company has chained themselves to long-term real estate leases (office space) which can't be easily terminated and they need to show use of the expensive asset

        2. the company has no idea how to measure actual worker performance (i.e., output and/or value generated) and therefore relies on nebulous "performance targets" and performative working to rank employees

        Also, most cases of employee under-performance are actually caused by issues outside the employee's control, with management failures being the prime reason.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: wondering if fellow travellers are working together

          I've been working for a company (in IT) for over 15 years.

          In that time I have never set foot in their office and I don't think I have met anyone from there face to face for about 8 years.

          apart from the CEO I think I am the longest serving member of staff.

          They tell me what needs to be done and by when, I do the work, when I do the work and when I don't work is down to me (and has never been queried), doing work for other people has never been a issue. as long as the companies work gets done before the deadline they really don't care what I'm doing when or for who, I think my record was turning around the work scheduled for 1 month in 4 days and then disappearing on holiday for 3 weeks (I did take a laptop and mobile just in case but there were no calls or emails)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "career" ? In IT? His he extracting the urine?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A career is a job that’s gone on too long ….

  6. sarusa Silver badge

    Uh huh

    Being over 35 will completely kill your career advancement at IBM too, unless you're an executive. Maybe people should stop doing that too.

    As far as I'm concerned, if working from home keeps me from being hired at a sh#$hole like IBM that's another positive.

  7. trevorde Silver badge

    The real career killer at IBM

    Getting old and being RA'd

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "a disconnect between workers and managers"

    AKA business as usual.

  9. Franco

    Only a manager would assume that everyone wants promotion or advancement. Every company I've worked for that is like IBM (Certain large makers of PCs for example) assume that every engineer wants nothing more than to become a team leader and can't understand engineers who just like being engineers.

    Just another of the many, many reasons I started contracting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One would hope the engineers would get promoted when they understand and can help manage projects from an engineering point of view.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Isn't that the Peter Principle?

        Take someone good at what he does, and promote him until he's in a job he neither wants to do nor has the skills to do?

        I've seen it so often over the last forty-five years: trainee engineer, engineer, senior engineer, engineering manager... but the engineer thus promoted didn't want to be a manager, he just wanted to be a better paid engineer.

        The Mythical Man Hour has something to say about this...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Isn't that the Peter Principle?

          Peter principle I think.


          Re: Isn't that the Peter Principle?

          I for one want to be a code monkey, not manage other code monkeys. But you're telling me I have to do that to get paid what I'm worth, while also reducing the "what I'm worth" part of the equation by shunting me into a job I will not excel at?

          This is why upper management is such a clusterfsck, either people that don't want to be there and have no idea what they're doing from a management perspective, or people that want to be there (because they're making fat stacks) but have no idea what they're doing from both a management AND a boots-on-the-ground perspective.

  10. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Staff must come back into the office, it's the only way to get any real work done.

    Your work will be developing our extensive range of products that allow teams to work seamlessly from multiple remote locations

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "managers need to be able to see the folks whose work they're directing every once in a while"


    When I worked for IBM, I went through almost as many line managers as I worked there years, and I saw them maybe once or twice during that time (if I was lucky). IBM never really set up teams in the old sense of the meaning - they were always distributed all over the place. Team meetings were always remote. I never met any of my team in person bar a couple who were drafted in to help with a problem.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Nope, it's true, They DO need to see their minions regularly.

      It's part of the narcissistic entitlement complex that far too many in senior manglement suffer from.

  12. Dave_A

    Well at least he recognizes that some people don't want to be managers ...

    Unlike Amazon - where more or less 'face time is important for the management career track, and so everyone has to come in'.....

    Although it will eventually fall back to all the ladder climbers being in the office and grumbling about why no one else comes in (were too busy working, vs spending all day trying to kiss ass and get promoted)....

  13. Lars Silver badge

    He is right of course

    Your chances of getting anywhere in an organization working from home are probably "nill".

    In software it might be a bit different. But in real life you have to show up and communicate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He is right of course

      "Real life" in this context is not some fixed, inflexible medium. People, thoughts, and ideas can change and adapt. Thankfully not everyone is as stuffy as you or you would end up being right.

      Frankly I don't want to live in a "real world" whereby my future prospects are determined by how much I brown-nose my managers, and that's why I'm moving to a place where the manager is actually targeting a fully remote workforce in five years, and already only mandates two in-person days.

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: He is right of course

      "in real life you have to show up and communicate"

      Switch on webcam, connect headset, set Teams status to "Available"

      There you go, I've showed up and am communicating... "Showing up" shouldn't mean physically attending a given location, it should mean being in the appropriate frame of mind to perform whatever bit of work you're doing. Force me to waste my precious personal time and money commuting to the office just to do something I can do every bit as well from my home office setup (if not better, due to the absence of distractions and interruptions), and would it surprise you if my level of engagement and enthusiasm for doing said something is lower as a result? I might be physically in front of you, but don't think for a second that means I've actually "showed up".

      What you refer to as "showing up" is what most of us refer to as "presenteeism" - making yourself visible to your colleagues in the hope it'll do your career progression some good. Whilst this may well be the case in some dinosaur-run companies, well run ones now realise that the whens and wheres of how you make your career achievements aren't nearly as important as what those achievements actually are. If you feel that you HAVE to dutifully show up in person to your employers premises in order to stand any chance of progressing, then that should be an instant red flag warning you about the culture of your employer - it might have been considered entirely acceptable in the pre-covid days when barely any of us had been given the opportunity to experience a better world of work, but now the WFH genie has well and truly been let out the bottle, any employer trying desperately to stuff it back in there and glue the cork in place is only wasting their time and energy that could be better expended learning to embrace the WFH revolution.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He is right of course

      For the last decade nearly all my colleagues and managers have been in different countries.

      Sure, I could turn up to a local office, switch on Teams, sit at a desk and share 100Mbs bandwidth with everyone else there.

      Or I could turn up to my home office, switch on Teams, sit at a (larger) desk and share 900Mbs with my partner while they also work from home.

      Now, I acknowledge that the extroverts probably do want to be in an office environment, as do those who don't have space at home - although they probably would be able to have space if they didn't have to live so close to the office.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He's just another blinkered dinosaur that doesn't know how to operate any other way.

    I guess he forgets the productivity boost during lockdowns?

    It's strange how these "back to office" edicts are happening more when the job market tightens up. I hope employees take them to the cleaners when they're hiring again.

  15. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Who can dream of working for IBM?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not sure, but it will involve Freddy Krueger somewhere.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I didn’t know that IBM only has one office

    Must be some long commutes!

  17. CowHorseFrog

    Why does IBM even bother writing software ?

    If everyone is in the offiec surely they can walk across and just talk to the person instead of using some half arsed IBM solution ?

  18. SundogUK Silver badge

    Blimey, the work from home zealots are out in force today.

    As I have said before, we are doing the experiment. Give it ten years and we can check whether those companies requiring office face-time outperform those who don't. All we have now is a lot of hot air and anecdote.

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Metrics for success

      When you say outperform, you need to be careful, because some people's and companies' metrics for success are different to others.

      There was a time when people worked long hours, six days a week. Then society changed, and the standard working week has ended up as 5 days a week at 40 hours or less. The most driven, and also the most poverty stricken tend to work more, out of choice or necessity.

      Not all jobs can be performed remotely, but for those that can, we are seeing a battle between people who like the flexibility of working remotely (not necessarily from home) and those who don't; for many reasons. As a society, we might collectively decide that the human benefits of flexible/remote working are worth having, just as an additional non-working days week, and working for less than 10 hours a day are worth having. Indubitably, companies would do better financially if people worked longer; and indeed, by financial measures, working from offices might be better than allowing flexible/remote working: but the human benefits might convince people that nevertheless, flexible/remote remains a good idea.

      There will, of course, be people who do unhelpful things, like slacking off, or working for more than one company simultaneously, and exploiting the level of trust required to enable successful remote/flexible working, but just because some people behave badly doesn't mean all will.

      Sometimes, building a society on improving people's quality of life rather than measuring how much money can be made is an attractive proposition. Success isn't always individual, sometimes it is collective.


      1. storner

        Re: Metrics for success


        The number of working hours here in Denmark has decreased from 60 hours/six days per week around 1900 to 37 hours/5 days per week in 1992. Mandatory (by law) required holidays has gone from 1 week to 5 weeks per year, and 99% has an extra week as part of their contract.

        Need I say that productivity and wealth has increased immensely over the past 125 years? Or just over the past 25 years?

        Requiring that you are physically present in the office when working is just plain dumb. But I guess that is a fine description of lots of middle-layer management, and a fair share of C-level as well.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      I used to work for IBM UK, and I worked from home for about a decade, before taking VR in 2015. So I, and may of my colleagues were WFH long before the pandemic saw widespread adoption through necessity; we were encouraged to WFH by big blue so they could sell off offices and save money. My base offices shrank considerably during this time, from two entire wings of a building, to eventually just one floor at one location.

      So what's left, 'hot desking'? It's one way to make your staff feel unwelcome. Oh, wait, they'll want to shake the tree a bit so they can make people leave and try to replace them with AI.

    3. Mark Honman

      In my own experience, it took about 2 years to become fully productive while working remotely - mainly because one needs to deliberately build working relationships that would form naturally while based in the same office. But now that almost everyone has made that change, it's not a problem to keep on working in that mode - as an engineer.

      What I've seen during the pandemic is a vastly increased workload for line managers, as it just takes longer to coordinate remote work - my managers' schedules became completely packed with meetings, and I think their job satisfaction has suffered (I really appreciate good managers who "do the dirty work" so that I can concentrate on engineering tasks, so I want them to be happy too).

      IMO what would be a lot more useful than having everyone go into the office X days in each week, is to gather a team together in a common place for the duration of a sprint.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Give WFH ten years but everyone back to the office now. Makes perfect sense.

      We can see the productivity improvements with three years, and we weren't even really prepared for it.

  19. SundogUK Silver badge

    Oh, and it would be nice to have a bit of balanced reporting from the Reg. on stuff like this. I'm guessing you all work from home, right?

    1. Norman Nescio Silver badge


      El Reg isn't the BBC. It has never claimed to be impartial.

      Perhaps it should be one of the Register Debates?

      I think one of the best bits of The Register is the comments, where people get to espouse and defend their points of view. There are a considerable number of knowledgeable people that contribute, and not a few vapid comments and jokes to leaven the mix, but on the whole, I tend to learn stuff - enough to change my mind on occasion.

      Feel free to go into detail on why you think working from home is a bad thing, and see if others think your arguments hold. You might convince others. Even if you don't get comments/replies, it's likely what you write will be read by many, and influence their opinions.


  20. RyokuMas


    Don't know what kool-aid Future Forum have been drinking, but since the pandemic and subsequent adoption of full-hybrid working at my compnay (which basically means I'm one of about five people regularly in the office), I have felt completely disconnected from my team and department - these days, I feel more like one of those stereotypical Indian subcontractors that so many have joked about in the past, just sitting in my little cubicle, isolated from the world, cranking out the code I'm told to make...

    And company culture? You'd find more cheer in a graveyard!


      Re: Eh...?

      Companies, and the people that work for them, handle WFH differently, Companies that adopt and build up collaboration platforms like Teams and encourage regular chatting/video calls are far more likely to succeed in the endeavour, by my anecdote. Just as so, some employees don't get on with online tools and need to interact directly with warm bodies for their mental health and work ethic.

      If you are being provided those collaboration tools and are not using them, that's your fault. But if there are no tools or no one else is interacting, then that's just bad company culture/management. Find the source of the problem and things might be able to change for the better, whether that's you learning how to better interact with your team, or pointed emails to HR/management about how the rest of your team is keeping radio silence.

      1. Scott 26

        Re: Eh...?

        > Companies that adopt and build up collaboration platforms like Teams and encourage regular chatting/video calls are far more likely to succeed in the endeavour, by my anecdote.

        I changed teams during the pandemic...

        Old team manager was very much a "I want you in the office" style of manager... morale was very low.

        New team manager is more like "I am hearing no complaints about you from the customer account team, and your billable hours are good" style. Morale is high. But the other thing the new team did was instead of the weekly catchup which we hear the latest company news, they would have 2 extra catchups, where you were free to join and chat. One team mate is an ex-chef so Fridays is all about what he's planning for dinner :) Another is quite young and is always getting something Shiny, so us older guys and gals (those with mortgages and families) live out vicariously through him :)

        As far as I know, talking to old team colleagues, they only have the weekly, manager-led catchup.

        My last 1:1 with my new manager, I was asked the last time I was in the office, I said it was irrelevant because when I was going into the city, I'd head to my client's site - more valuable to show a face there than my company's office. Manager response: "Fair enough"

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Eh...?

      Your comments of feeling disconnected, isolated etc. would have been a near perfect description of one of my former roles which (like most back then) was fully office based - whilst it was a pretty well paid job, the whole setup of how the company was run genuinely sucked the life out of me, such that when the redundancy axe fell and I found myself starting work somewhere else for much lower pay/benefits, but with a much MUCH better workplace culture, I realised just how bad for my career that role had actually been.

      In contrast, where I work now, the culture within our team and, generally, within our immediate levels of management (occasional dubious hires aside) has always been a good one, before, during, and since the pandemic. We worked well together back when 5 days a week in the office was considered the norm, we transitioned successfully to full time WFH throughout the worst of the pandemic, and we've now transitioned successfully again to hybrid.

      And my experiences here aren't isolated ones, they're repeated time and time again across the world, across countless different industries. So whilst it's certainly true that the switch from being in the office full time to hybrid/fill time WFH may cause problems, it feels like these are limited to those employers/teams who for whatever reason aren't willing/able to embrace this new way of working, and are suffering as a result. And as my previous experience shows, such problems can occur even when hybrid/WFH isn't part of the equation, so again it's more down to how that particular employer/team has chosen to operate.

      TL:DR - don't blame hybrid/WFH, blame your employer...

  21. Johnb89

    Everybody calm down

    Reading the comments, too many commenters are suggesting there is one answer for every job, every company, every day of the week, every person.

    As a few have said some jobs can be done remotely, some jobs are better done part in the office (to meet with people) and part at home (to allow concentration), and some need to be at work... assembling cars, for instance.

    Then there is the balance between types of productivity... short term, and long term mostly. Yes, staying at home to finish this dev project for 2 months will get that project done faster (let's say), but not going in to the office for 2 years means you lose track of what the company is about, by not meeting the people that are the company. Sometimes standing together at a white board gets the job done better.

    And no, typing on slack/teams/whatever does NOT replace face-to-face conversation in all ways.

    1. mmccul

      Re: Everybody calm down

      We are talking, however, about IT jobs with some specific mentions of their consulting division. Yes, a few IT related jobs are hard to do remotely, such as data center manager, but those tend to be rare. Recent trends have permitted even a surprisingly high number of servicedesk jobs to be done remotely.

      I disagree (based on experience) with your premise that not seeing your coworkers face to face for two years is a very bad thing. One job I worked, I had a very close coworker, we worked together literally daily for over eight years. We never met face to face until I left the job and was moving to my new job, literally driving through the city he lived in. Absolutely no issues. Does it work for everyone? No. But don't presume it is necessary for everyone either.

  22. mmccul

    Which office?

    There's a certain irony to telling consultants to "come into the (IBM) office three days a week". What if the company they are consulting to wants them in their office instead in order to interact with the client? Do you penalize the successful consultant who is consistently on assignment, making their client happy, because they're on site at their client, earning billable hours? If the consultant is the only individual assigned to that client, you're saying that they can't get good performance evaluations and will be quietly shown the door?

  23. Rol

    ...where the deers and the antelope play

    Well, I started my new job when the lock down was in full swing. It was in the next county and would never had been on my job radar, but for the fact it was working from home.

    Since then, several associated teams have been forced back into the office and are struggling. Seriously struggling. Experienced staff have resigned, and the empty chairs been left that way for many many months despite a recruitment push to fill them. Seems no one wants to work in a job that can be easily done from home, but through management dogma must now be done in the office.

    Those teams are now so overworked and overstressed they are falling to pieces and our team is now being asked to help out. Our team's boss is a bit of a maverick, and he's not in the slightest interested in the corporate theme being trotted out of "back to your desks" and his team is fully staffed. When someone leaves, which is usually through promotion, or going off round the world, they get replaced immediately, as there are no recruitment issues for a team that can happily work from home.

    The other team's managers want at least one of us on secondment, on a weekly rota, and we're politely, but firmly telling them how that's going to work. As in, we're not going to work, we're going to stay at home and knock all their productivity targets out of the park. They certainly winced at that, but have no choice. They messed up their own team dynamics by forcing them back on site for no real reason.

    Unless my next job is oiling down naked models for a new TV series, I'll never accept a job that requires my physical attendance, ever.

    1. spold Silver badge

      Re: ...where the deers and the antelope play

      I'd accept one where naked models were oiling down me.

  24. spold Silver badge

    We need to see you in the Salt Mines

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A real office

    If I had a real office with a door I could close, when I need to get detailed customer critical work done - I would return to the office 3 days a week. But there is no such thing any longer for technical professionals. A "Hot Desk" that was wiped down with Clorox in 2021 is not tempting in the least. An 'open plan' where I can smell the BO enhanced aftershave and "body sprays" from 3 rows over is just as enticing. The cacophony of voices, the basic lack of privacy, the known spread of every type of virus and microbe - these work environments should be considered hazardous. If someone wants people to come back to the "office", then they need to make offices places where work can get done.

  26. gcarter

    Myself, was employed with a local insurance company before COVID and lockdown hit in their IT department.

    The lockdown allowed for remote support to be honed to perfection.

    When the UK government said... right boys n girls, back to the office we go, admittedly my employer provided quite a flexible WFH option to staff, but it did still require office attendance for a day or so during the week.

    COVID had a knockoff effect of the businesses turnover however, and they had to make redundancies.

    Fair enough I suppose, however the IT department issued a scoring system to make any redundancies fair. One of the scoring criteria was "time in office".

    ... problem was I developed a minor health issue during lockdown which reduced my mobility somewhat, preventing me from heading into the office.

    Lo and behold my "time in office" score was 0 which basically meant I was made redundant.

    Wasn't all bad though, I got a juicy redundancy payout and found a WFH employer offering a higher salary then I was on.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another IBM CEO, more craziness!

    Worked there for 20 years. My thoughts: My productivity and effectiveness greatly improved when I moved out of an IBM office. The office itself, the environment was terrible, demoralizing. Delaying promotions? Mine was delayed for over 2 years, then almost no pay increase. Explanation -- budget constraints. Most of the people who climb the IBM ladder the fastest were in "sales." If you are not a customer facing sales person -- your career advancement options in IBM are slim. IBM really doesn't understand information technology, or how to use it well. You won't know how bad it is until you get away from an IBM office. IBM and most of its products are far behind the competition, sometimes by decades. Many IBM's customers have figured it out. Selling to them became near impossible. Conclusion: If you work in IBM and are interested in career advancement, go work somewhere else.

    A few decades ago IBM had a great corporate culture. You can see hints of it in its old facilities and office buildings - nice offices, great facilities, work events, family events. They treated their employees well and with respect. If Arvind Krishna wants a high performance corporate culture he needs to start by treating his surviving workforce with a lot more respect. Forcing people back into the office with veiled threats isn't going to reverse decades of poor workforce management.

  28. rc05689

    That old you won't get promoted canard? Promotions come from changing companies.

  29. Cav Bronze badge

    So, if speaking to other people is best, are all these companies going to start employing actual people to answer phones?

  30. ps2os2

    IBM is growing old

    I am an OLD timer (age 75).I have had IBMers around the office since I started in IT almost 50 years ago. I also knew them on a first name basis. One or two have been invited to Christmas parties and other family events. Somewhere in the 1990's IBM changed and not for the good, either. I used to be able to go up to one of the many IBM SE (sales engineers) and ask him a question (and depending on the question) he would get back to me with an answer that fit in the company's ethic. That stopped and you were expected to call a 1-800 number, Then they would tell you it would cost say a thousand dollars for an answer (yes even for IBM software). Want a real question, say what would it cost to upgrade one system from one model to another. Oops I had to call a 1800 number. Even then they wanted to charge me for an answer. IBM is dying it is just a slow and will be a painful death for the customer. Even now there has been an exodus of people from IBM to other companies. I will be dead when there are no more 1-800 numbers to call, as the people may not be there to answer.

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