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HP Businesses IT News

HP CEO Meg Whitman To Employees: No More Telecommuting For You 477

Posted by Soulskill
from the p.s.-you're-all-slackers dept.
McGruber writes "AllThingsD has the news that Hewlett-Packard has enacted a policy requiring most employees to work from the office and not from home. According to an undated question-and-answer document distributed to HP employees, the new policy is aimed at instigating a cultural shift that 'will help create a more connected workforce and drive greater collaboration and innovation.' The memo also said, 'During this critical turnaround period, HP needs all hands on deck. We recognize that in the past, we may have asked certain employees to work from home for various reasons. We now need to build a stronger culture of engagement and collaboration and the more employees we get into the office the better company we will be.' One major complication is that numerous HP offices don't have sufficient space to accommodate all of their employees. According to sources familiar with the company's operations, as many as 80,000 employees, and possibly more, were working from home in part because the company didn't have desks for them all within its own buildings."
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HP CEO Meg Whitman To Employees: No More Telecommuting For You

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  • Re:Management Sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @12:23AM (#45078469) Homepage

    Well as long as HP doesn't try to sell telecommuting to other companies because they obviously don't know how to do it http://www8.hp.com/h20621/video-gallery/us/en/customer-care/computing-and-mobile-devices/network-and-internet/1251324810001/hp-home-office-telecommuting-equipment-basics/video/ [hp.com].

  • False rumor? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @12:25AM (#45078485)

    My wife works for HP (as a telecommuter) and she's pretty high up - and I'm pretty sure this is false. There were rumors of a 'no telecommuting policy' for the last couple of months, but nothing came of it. I'm guessing Meg & Co took heed of the negative feedback on that idea.
     

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @12:35AM (#45078543) Homepage

    While Carly deserves her share of the blame for the fall of HP, let's not forget that it was her successor, Lew Platt, who split HP into two companies. Prior to that split, HP was more like Samsung and less like, say, Dell.

  • by ErnoWindt (301103) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @01:08AM (#45078719)

    Meg Whitman - a totally hideous person - mean, small, vindictive - has no ideas of her own, so she's just stealing Marissa Mayer's bad idea. Both are insanely wealthy people who literally have no clue how the proles who work for them actually live their lives. Step by step, the US stumbles toward its own French Revolution, but ours will make the one of 1789 look like a walk in the park.

  • Re:Erm, ok. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @01:12AM (#45078735) Journal
    I worked on a contract at a major telco in the U.S. that had a lot of telecommuting. They were implementing new ordering, billing, provisioning... systems. They had so many issues during that time, mostly because the left hand never knew what the right hand was doing. My impression was it was caused by people not being in the same office or campus. I worked on a similar project at another telco that didn't telecommute and things went far smoother. People were able to actually walk to someone else's desk and confer. And face to face meetings always had the result of better communicating ideas than in chat windows and even phone calls. It also helped blow walls in the silos between teams when you could go to the area where the other team sat. Or call meetings with people in the same room. Telecommuting is nice for the workers, and I too like it, but is absolute shit for creating quality work in a timely manner. Slag at this all you want, but that is my perspective from two projects implementing the same system using two different management policies: telecommuting versus 'no telecommuting'. And 'no telecommuting' produced better work.
  • Re:The HP Office (Score:5, Interesting)

    by real-modo (1460457) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @01:15AM (#45078753)

    Apropos which, I found this series of posts [ribbonfarm.com] fascinating reading.

    Sample:

    [William H. Whyte, author of The Organization Man] saw signs that in the struggle for dominance between the Sociopaths (whom he admired as the ones actually making the organization effective despite itself) and the middle-management Organization Man, the latter was winning. He was wrong, but not in the way you’d think. The Sociopaths defeated the Organization Men and turned them into The Clueless not by reforming the organization, but by creating a meta-culture of Darwinism in the economy: one based on job-hopping, mergers, acquisitions, layoffs, cataclysmic reorganizations, outsourcing, unforgiving start-up ecosystems, and brutal corporate raiding. In this terrifying meta-world of the Titans, the Organization Man became the Clueless Man. Today, any time an organization grows too brittle, bureaucratic and disconnected from reality, it is simply killed, torn apart and cannibalized, rather than reformed. The result is the modern creative-destructive life cycle of the firm [emphasis added]

    Six posts in the series, each shedding much light on modern corporate dynamics. TL;DR version is "the executive class has gone feral."

    Also worth reading is another post of Venkat's, "You are not an artisan".

  • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @01:23AM (#45078803)
    What does HP even do any more? I just visited their homepage to find out - it lists Laptops, Tablets, Desktops, All-In-Ones... so, reselling stuff made by companies such as Asus and Lenovo, which they increasingly no longer need an American storefront headed by an over-paid CEO to help them market.
  • Re:reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @01:42AM (#45078929)

    I had to snicker at that "unite and inspire them to achieve higher levels of excellence" line. Not only because it's the typical management bullshit crammed into a single line, but because I can just see how "inspired" the people will "unite".

    Considering that HP has by no means that amount of space necessary to accommodate the amount of people, it will be a tad bit ... well, let's say crammed. And somehow the image of how three people crammed into a cubicle try to achieve any level of operational excellence makes me snicker... though I can see how they have to be quite innovative to find a way to get ANY work done in such a setup.

    And yes, I'm pretty sure it will unite them. In their hatred towards their company, at least.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @01:44AM (#45078933) Journal

    [Worker]" Sure, no problem, I'll drive in which should take 2 hours so I don't telecommute."

    I did that once (I lived 90 minutes' drive away)... it was the first and last time they ever thought a physical presence in a 'war room' to fix a gimped VM was that important to have.

  • by Bob_Who (926234) <Bob@@@who...net> on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:34AM (#45079175) Homepage Journal

    HP bought EDS 5 years 5 months ago. That's the firm my brother was happily telecommuting for, for years. I guess he was expecting this to happen eventually. After all, why else would government work be privatized and then bought and sold by the likes of Ross Perot and Meg Whitman? It was all part of the nefarious plan to contract to perform government work for less by avoiding the costs that the government customarily pays its employees. Its like union busting but on a larger scale, and NOW its payday for them! But please America, don't be so naive that you don't see the truth about corporate America and the state of the economy. Its all just smoke in mirrors, and they intend to lower their costs and increase their profits now that they have stolen the business from you citizens. So, isn't it about time we stopped these assholes?

  • by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @03:36AM (#45079395)

    Actually in large parts of the US they're open to lawsuits for constructive dismissal, if the office isn't nearby. Being forced to drive 10 miles to the office wouldn't likely work, but if it would force you to relocate it would definitely qualify. Most likely anyone who is forced to change by this policy will be offered some severance if they don't want to change, just to avoid the lawsuits.

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:31AM (#45080523)

    if they don't get a CEO that has a plan and knows WTF they are doing

    I assure you that most CEO's indeed have a plan and have a very good idea about what they're doing. Except usually that plan has everything to do with manipulating the short term stock price and CEO bonus levels and nothing to do with the long term health of a corporation.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @08:55AM (#45080709) Journal
    The CEO of Lenovo did that in China. He distributed his 5 million dollar (equivalent) bonus right back to his workers, which worked out to an extra month's pay for some of them.
  • Re:But it is! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @09:14AM (#45080851)

    This is the cheapest way to get a lot of people to just resign without severance pay.

    The problem with the "make things worse so people resign" approach is that you tend to lose your best people first, since they're the ones who can find another job most easily.

    killing many profitable projects with that decision

    Clearly I'm not up on the latest business strategies - I thought killing profitable projects was a bad idea. If it's done for the sake of some illusory goal, whose benefit can only be measured after the CEO has left, then it's pure bull. If you want to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy, then change the managerial requirements for projects (e.g $10k expense requires VP approval), and maybe fire some useless bureaucrats. Do *not* do it by killing profitable projects.

  • Re:False rumor? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @01:27PM (#45083115)

    That's something I had to fight out with a superior of mine in another job I held.

    I did what you suggest. I gave my team goals to work to. How they achieved them, I didn't care. I should mention that coming from the "tech" side of the trade and not the "management" side, I actually knew what's possible and what isn't, and I have a pretty good idea what an average, normally skilled person can accomplish in what time with what results to be expected. I set goals and I expected people to meet them, but aside of the usual milestone reports, I didn't really give a damn how much time they spent on the project or in the company at all. I've literally had people in my team that I never saw aside of the weekly meetings, they came and went as they pleased and they did some work from home too. Neither is anything I cared about as long as the work got done.

    This of course caused some envy since other teams had "stricter" rules. A direct comparison between my team's work and the others soon showed, though, that my approach is the correct one. My team was very motivated (hell, I could literally pick and choose who I want for my projects, people were very keen to switch over to me), they were very productive (because some things you just can't do in the noise of a cubicle hell with its frequent interrupts) and they enjoyed that only job perk I could give them: Self organization and working at your own pace.

    In a nutshell, if you have someone who can get an 8 hour job done in 3 and deliver top quality, the very LAST thing you should do is dump another 8 hours of work on his shoulders. Send that guy home to enjoy 5 hours of free time. Do NOT make the mistake to think that you can now fire one guy 'cause he can do that guy's job. Treasure such a person. You will NEED him the moment a project milestone is out of reach, you have a week to do a month's work and he is the ONLY guy who could pull that off. Then you will ask him to put in 60 hours this week to save your ass and he will gladly do it, knowing that the rest of the time he works 15 hours a week and gets paid for 50.

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @02:36PM (#45083829)

    It's my experience that for many people, excessive casualness at work leads to treating work as casually as

    It's my experience that other people most certianly do judge me (and probably you) by looks, including dress. There was one period early in my career where I decided to dress as casually as I could get away with. I also grew my hair down into a ponytail. Slowly while this was going on, somehow at work my perception changed from a bright young go-getter to a useless slacker.

    When things got the worst for me career-wise, I decided to physically clean up. After all, its trivial to do. Certianly much easier than actually changing my attitude, right? So I started dressing up. One day at work I just started showing up in dress slacks and shoes, tie and jacket. breifcase instead of backpack. I cut the ponytail off.

    It wasn't as obvious during the slow transformation, but the sudden change back was dramatic. Overnight I was right back to being a praised go-getter. Not only that, but I noticed that salespeople in stores would talk to me again, as would panhandlers. When I was ponytail guy, car salemen in patrticular would just act like I didn't exist. Even if I was there to buy something.

    If you haven't tried it yourself, you'd be absolutely amazed how much other people's perception of you is based on looks. The thing is, dress and hairstyle are pretty much entirely in your control. You may have a style of each you prefer, but from a strict economic perspective, if you don't do both to maximize your preception at work, you aren't hurting anyone but yourself. So that's what the value of ties is.

    The whole experience also left me with a new appreciation for folks with ethnic, weight, or general attractivness issues. While I was being studiously ignored by car salesmen until I left, there was a black guy on the lot getting the same treatment. I could go home and cut off my pony-tail. What could he do?

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