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IBM Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

IBM, Remote-Work Pioneer, is Calling Thousands Of Employees Back To the Office (qz.com) 303

An anonymous reader shares a report: Less than a year into her tenure as IBM's chief marketing officer, Michelle Peluso prepared to make an announcement that she knew would excite some of her 5,500 new employees, but also, inevitably, inspire resignation notices from others. In a video message, Peluso explained the "only one recipe I know for success." Its ingredients included great people, the right tools, a mission, analysis of results, and one more thing: "really creative and inspiring locations." IBM had decided to "co-locate" the US marketing department, about 2,600 people, which meant that all teams would now work together, "shoulder to shoulder," from one of six different locations -- Atlanta, Raleigh, Austin, Boston, San Francisco, and New York. Employees who worked primarily from home would be required to commute, and employees who worked remotely or from an office that was not on the list (or an office that was on the list, but different than the one to which their teams had been assigned) would be required to either move or look for another job. Similar announcements had already been made in other departments, and more would be made in the future. At IBM, which has embraced remote work for decades, a relatively large proportion of employees work outside of central hubs. (By 2009, when remote work was still, for most, a novelty, 40% of IBM's 386,000 global employees already worked at home). [...] "When you're playing phone tag with someone is quite different than when you're sitting next to someone and can pop up behind them and ask them a question," Peluso says. Not all IBM employees see it that way.
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IBM, Remote-Work Pioneer, is Calling Thousands Of Employees Back To the Office

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  • Stealth Layoff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @12:43PM (#54082259) Homepage Journal
    Maybe they just figured out how to get rid of a bunch of employees without having to pay severances or unemployment.
    • Re:Stealth Layoff (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @12:52PM (#54082381)

      This is exactly how Reddit did it. Eliminate WFH employees, eliminate everyone that doesn't want to or can't physically relocate, and you've downsized while making it seem like it was the departing employees choice to leave.

      • Re:Stealth Layoff (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:58PM (#54082871) Homepage Journal
        I'm guessing if you "telecommute" or work from home in India....you are immune to this new rule and you will continue to be allowed to do so....
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Except with Reddit it was plainly obvious that it wasn't the employees' choice. No one in their right mind is going to pack up their life and trade in their current arrangements to go live in a $5,000/month closet in SF. Not anyone with a family or any kind of balanced lifestyle, anyway. So you can't attract the best or the brightest, instead you get people who are stuck in SF after being laid off from some other company and are desperate for work. No offense to people working at Reddit.

      • Re:Stealth Layoff (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @03:12PM (#54083445) Homepage

        This is exactly how Reddit did it.

        And Intel. The husband of a friend of mine (and his family with him) were forcibly moved several States over so as to keep his job when they closed several offices all around the US, causing them to sell their former home for a fraction of it's value and purchase a new one, smaller, and for an inflated price due to the huge influx of people there stressing the local house market.

        The alternative offered? To "quit" his job and lose severance and other benefits.

        Why he (and them) complied? Because he's near retirement age and doing anything else would be end-of-life economic suicide.

        As for all the former employees who "quit", that certainly looked amazing on the responsible executives' resume. Not to mention the bonuses due to all the cost savings etc.

        Shareholder capitalism is an illness.

        • Re:Stealth Layoff (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @03:53PM (#54083765) Homepage Journal

          That's seems backwards to me. People who are near retirement would probably be better off holding on to their home and retiring earlier than planned rather than taking what is potentially the loss of one or more years' income in a single hit.

        • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @05:31PM (#54084417)

          I have a friend who is celebrating his 21st year at Intel. He has considered leaving a few times, but just couldn't because they take such good care of him. He gets stock options that come out to about 1/3 of my salary, he makes very good money, usually gets double-digit raises and bonuses that are about 1/4 to 1/3 my salary.

          Every seven years, he gets a paid 3-month sabbatical, in addition to vacation. This year will be his 3rd one. He had to move once for the company, and when he did they pretty much covered every expense.

          Quite honestly, I have known a couple of other people who have worked there, and none of them complained about it.
          What I was told about Intel was that they take care of their employees, and during hard times (like during the economic downturn) they take better care of them. It's how they keep good people. I always respected them for that. I can't say as much for any software or financial company that I have worked for in the last 24 years.

        • The alternative offered? To "quit" his job and lose severance and other benefits. Why he (and them) complied? Because he's near retirement age and doing anything else would be end-of-life economic suicide.

          That's an involuntary termination, not quitting. When companies try it generally it is a legal quagmire. If it is even slightly questionable companies will generally offer a huge settlement package rather than risk a drawn-out lawsuit fighting in the courts; and since they're leaving the state the drawn-out lawsuit would be in a state they no longer are local to, further increasing cost.

          I'm curious, did you talk with a lawyer before accepting the deal?

        • by olau ( 314197 )

          Here in Denmark, Intel closed a division they bought some years ago because clearly the employees wouldn't mind moving to another country (they were to be relocated to somewhere in Germany I believe) and despite having almost completed a new lab facility.

          Only to find out that they didn't have anyone else who could develop the products they had already sold. So they ended up cancelling the closure AFTER having announced it to the public.

          Here's the announcement of closure:

          http://cphpost.dk/news/busines... [cphpost.dk]

          Thes

    • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @12:59PM (#54082459) Homepage Journal

      From TFS:

      one more thing: "really creative and inspiring locations."

      Having worked for IBM back in the 1980's (in Boca Raton, FL), I can provide a datapoint: IBM labs (the MITRE Kanji printer labs, specifically) were incredibly uncomfortable, required long, annoying walks from the parking lot and between locations and buildings, and were run in an extremely uncreative manner. To describe the environment, I'd go with "windowless, cold, and cavelike." Truly a shitty place to work. Whereas working at home... okay, now that is a creative, inspiring location. Because like pretty much anyone who puts a home together, I designed it specifically to be that way to my specific interests and inclinations.

      Now... it's been a long time, and perhaps if they re-hired me, they'd amaze me with a comfortable office with a view, a nearby, well-stocked cafeteria, an in-office hutch for my dog, and a secretary to handle the reams of make-work reports. Or perhaps there are no more reports (cough... cough... sorry, can't even write that with a straight face.) I find this, or any reasonable equivalency to it... unlikely. But perhaps they are actually in a position to do this now.

      But then again, my experience there was so bad, I'd never respond to an IBM recruiter again, even if I was in the market for a job, which I am not.

      • by Kobun ( 668169 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:15PM (#54082603)
        I love that they are banking on people being able to interrupt others' trains of thought as a major benefit of this transition. Anything that helps them die faster.
        • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:56PM (#54082857) Homepage Journal

          Yes, one of the key benefits of working at home is control of the environment, and that most assuredly includes who gets to interrupt, or not, and when.

          Working in company offices, I did some pretty good work. I tried hard, despite being very uncomfortable and unhappy. That was the job. But working at home, I did great work, became financially independent and most definitely happy. I loved (still do) my office and would (still do) burn huge numbers of hours in (t)here really Getting Shit Done. I also established myself in a very low cost-of-living location, doing high pay-in-employment work. Remotely. That's a really nice side effect of remote work, or at least it was for me. Hearing about real estate expenses in areas like Silicon Valley and various similar enclaves, I can only shake my head at the difference. I spent less in total (under $100k, all told) on nearly 6,000 sq feet of totally custom (and admittedly very eclectic) environment than most of the people in those areas spend on one bedroom apartments in less than 4 years ($2300/mo. [bizjournals.com]) It really matters to your quality of life where you put your roots down.

          TBH, I think one of the most programmer-hostile things a company can do is say "you have to work where we are." The tech exists, and has for some time, to make that completely unnecessary. Even if "constantly interrupt and monitor" is part of the company's operations protocols, that too is 100% doable. Throw the employee a fast connection and a good desktop, a webcam and a mic... whatever you need to do to keep in touch, you can do. Should cost a metric fuckton less than providing them office space "at" the company, too. I have never, ever, heard a decent argument for the requirement that warm flesh be present in the room in order to get good work done, or out of any employee. Frankly, if the employee can't work like that and do good work, they sure as **** aren't doing great work for you in any bloody office.

          But, you know. I'm old, cranky, successful, independent, and can say these things with no fear my supervisor will see them. :)

          • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @02:15PM (#54083005) Homepage Journal
            I know...the ability to "interrupt" is a horrible one.

            I've been working from home for a few years now, and I even turn off the damned IM products they have tried thrusting upon us...latest one, Lync.

            I can't get a damned thing done without someone trying to annoy me on lync, and it usually is NOT something that is a priority item.

            I will fire it up and join a meeting when needed, or desktop sharing is absolutely required, but for 99% of my time, I do not need it and it is detrimental to my work and concentration.

            Fortunately, I've been around long enough where no one really presses me on it like they do others...but I find email to be best way to work, it is asynchronous, and AND...I think it leaves a much better paper trail for CYA when needed at future times.

            • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

              Spot on. I used to use the hell out of email and preferred it, same reason.

              Lately, I've found slack in a web browser to be similarly async; I look at it when I'm ready, respond when ready. The richer environment -- the images, clips, etc., the ability to go live at any moment -- have moved my preference to Slack / Ryver (these are basically the same thing.) If only they'd let us have a richer text rendering environment... I've written a few bots for Slack, and I spend a fair amount of time chafing at the li

      • I think that I have an additional example for you.

        In the 1990's I worked for MCI at the Garden of the God's facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is currently occupied by Verizon and Xerox [milehighcre.com]. That link has a few images of the place, but they do not do the site justice.

        It was a beautiful state of the art building with a beautiful view of the mountains, great parking and a few minutes walk from the incredible Garden of the Gods park [wikipedia.org]. Before MCI was located there it was a Rolm phone facility [wikipedia.org]. Rolm was

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        Yeah, I worked the noon to 9 shift at IBM Boca for a while. About half the time, the afternoon rain storm would blow in a bit early and I'd get drenched walking from the car to the building, which they kept at 72 degrees all year round. The next couple of hours usually consisted in trying to avoid slipping into hypothermia and dying in the building.

        Last time I left was in 2005 in Colorado. At the time, they would just throw a bunch of people in a room. They were nice enough to throw up some half-cube wall

    • Re:Stealth Layoff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:01PM (#54082483)

      This is however really the most demented way to do it, because only those that are good at what they do (and hence have other prospects) will leave. The ones staying will include all that have no prospects. Do this several times and you may as well close down the department and re-start from scratch.

      Why again are the people that make such decisions so much money? Oh right, because they know how to give the appearance of knowing how to do their job.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        because only those that are good at what they do (and hence have other prospects) will leave

        That is not seen as a problem at the top of the tree where only managers are seen as having true value. A good manager can take anyone out of the gutter and turn them into a subject matter expert without the manager knowing anything about the subject - so the oft believed legend goes.
        So IMHO when you see such demented practices it's a bit of a symptom of such a situation.

    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:02PM (#54082487) Journal

      This, exactly this.

      I mean seriously... in the age of corporate IM and collaboration(e.g. Webex) applications, why the hell are they complaining about "phone tag"? Just require your employees to keep their damned IM app open if you're that worried about it. I mean, IBM isn't exactly running a commodities trading house, so it's not like they need split-second employee response times...
      --
      In general though, a hybrid solution is best in my opinion... you come in a day or two each week for meetings and suchlike, then work from home the rest of the time so you can have a quiet place to concentrate (that is, as long as your family is educated/smart enough to leave you alone).

      I say this for a couple of reasons:
      * Face-time. Politics(sadly) and team cohesion requires physically getting together periodically.
      * Meetings are best conducted together as a physical when possible, mostly because even video doesn't really help you gauge the room when speaking/listening/etc. This isn't true for all meetings, but for most of them, it holds true.

      Conversely, working from home allows you to concentrate with a minimum of interruption. Yeah, IMs are the suck, but at least allow you to finish up whatever little thought/task you had going before you answer it.

      • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

        IM doesn't fix the phone tag problem. I IM you a message. 20 minutes later, you look at your IM app and respond. By then I'm out at lunch, I IM you back an hour later. Then you're in a meeting. Repeat. It solves it about as much as voicemail did.

        • Voicemail requires more time to obtain the same amount of information that a quick glance at an IM would provide. It also puts the onus on the listener, the one who is being asked something, to figure out what is being asked from a rambling thought stream. When people are forced to put their desires in text form, they will subconsciously organize it coherently and completely before sending it off to you.

          To discourage people from leaving me voicemails I check them only when the system starts emailing me wa

          • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

            I'm not arguing VM vs IM. IM is better for almost everything. But IM doesn't solve the problem of not being able to connect and have an ongoing conversation- the phone tag problem.

            • I'm not arguing VM vs IM. IM is better for almost everything.

              Per my earlier post, I turn IM fucking OFF....it is a constant intrusion on my concentration...pops up, blinking on tray...ugh.

              And..people seem to bug you on it for more innocuous reasons "Hey, what's up?" I'm as sociable a person as can be when not working, but when I'm trying to concentrate, leave me the fuck alone unless there's a fire somewhere.

              I turn it off, and only turn it on when I need to hit a meeting where there is screen sharing,

              • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

                A well configured IM client won't pop up and bug you either, it will behave like email - sit in the background receiving messages until you go and read them.

        • by El Rey ( 61125 )

          It's way better. If I am in a meeting and get an IM and can respond now I will. If I get a voice mail or call, it's too disruptive and I won't.

          Also there is an underlying false premise that when in the office people don't:

          ever leave their desk
          ever have meetings with people who aren't you and can't be found
          ever use the bathroom
          ever go to the kitchen to get coffee
          ever go talk to their friend on another floor
          etc.

          The idea that people in an office are always at their desks and available is BS. I have IM on my ph

        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

          This ability to defer reading the message is actually very useful in 95% of cases, being disturbed by someone who wants to ask you a non urgent question is extremely annoying and derails your concentration... Being able to ignore these distractions until you have time to respond to them is extremely useful.

      • I work from home one day a week. And I miss having team mates handy to discuss something quick, or refresh my memory on an issue, or jsut to hear what they are doing and realize we have a site wide issue ballooning.

        Working from home all the time would diminish our effectiveness. I'm not really happy being isolated that one day, but we adapt for that. To rely on 'instant' chat would be annoying - Skype for Business is annoying by itself, offering to make calls when all I wanted was the phone number off the

      • I agree face time is useful in building a team, and getting everyone on the same page. I like your approach, and think it would be useful in my office, where I spend 80% with the door closed working on programming, and 20% of my time in meetings and such.

        Might not work best for me, since my office is often quieter than my house. I have a 1-year-old. But I think it would work for most others, and the mere effect of emptying out the building would also help a lot.

        The phone tag thing is BS. I often m
        • This is why I love Avaya phone systems. There's a button you can define called Send Calls. Tap that and all incoming calls get dumped straight to your voice mail box.
    • Re:Stealth Layoff (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:04PM (#54082507)

      Maybe they just figured out how to get rid of a bunch of employees without having to pay severances or unemployment.

      Exactly.

      Everyone has their phone in their pocket. As someone who tele-works to a job across the country, if Michelle Peluso feels like she's "playing phone tag" with people, it's because they don't want to talk to her.

      • ---Or they don't know how to IM while scanning the minutiae email...

    • Re:Stealth Layoff (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LeftCoastThinker ( 4697521 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @02:14PM (#54082999)

      This, exactly. They are trying to cheat their employees out of unemployment benefits, and if I were telecommuting and unable to relocate, I would refuse to accept the terms and I would not hand in my resignation either. I would make them fire me and let their HR department know that I expected unemployment and a severance package as if I were laid off. If they try to withhold unemployment benefits, I would get a lawyer and start a class action for unemployment benefits, legal fees and punitive damages for bad faith and contact my state AG to start an investigation.

    • Maybe they just figured out how to get rid of a bunch of employees without having to pay severances or unemployment.

      I'm seeing a fine big bonus here.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @12:47PM (#54082301)

    Every reorganization, every revamp, every change means that some people will not like it. And those that don't like it have two options: Grin and bear it, or hand in a resignation note.

    Question for 100 points: Will good people, who are sought and have zero problem finding a new job, be in the first or in the latter group? And where will people who know that they have no chance of ever being hired again because they're lazy, dumb or both be?

    And now ponder what group you'll retain with your constant, idiot changes!

    For fuck's sake, when you take over a company, you needn't piss all over it to mark it as yours! It ain't a tree and you're not a dumb dog.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Corporate America is, whether deliberately or not, cultivating a culture where loyalty is unheard of, no employee gives a damn about the success of the company, and no employee thinks twice about leaving after only a year.

      And that's exactly what Corporate America deserves: employees who simply don't care about anything but themselves. Ironically, "I'm loving it."

    • Companies that inspire turnover but are otherwise stable collect cruft from employees who are competent enough to not be fired, through whatever means, but not talented or crafty enough to have options.

      Short term this bloats the organization, as more people are required to accomplish the same tasks, but long term, limits the ability of the company to do anything or change tactics - gaining more and more inertial mass.

      This is just a perturbation that moves IBM along that chain.

      I accepted a job offer from IBM

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Well that could also be intentional -- get rid of any shred of useful talent in a division and then spin the rest of that division off as "underperforming." Your stock options soar and it doesn't affect your bottom line when that new company quietly goes under.
  • Work/home balance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @12:49PM (#54082345) Homepage

    It's notable that some of the largest reversals of remote work in recent memory have been spearheaded by women.

    The irony is delicious.

    • Can you provide some examples and/or statistics?
    • Re:Work/home balance (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:47PM (#54082797)

      "I sacrificed my family life to get where I am. Why does SHE get to work from home and pick up her kids?" Sounds familiar
      I work in consulting and a lot of my employees work as contractors. I meet with the client managers for feedback regularly and I get maximum complaints about our female employees taking days off or WFH to deal with school, sickness etc. Funny thing its mostly the female Client managers complaining not the males. Maybe the males expect women to be taking time off to deal with kid issues. But its wierd that its always women complaining about other women taking time off to deal with kids. I have even had one say "I dont take time off when my kid is sick . Why does your contractor take a half day to go watch a recital?"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's what stuck in my craw about Marissa. She gets rid of all remote employees, no one can be exempt, not even us working mothers! We all must pitch in for the good of the company and do our part, even us working mothers! Then she installs a fully staffed nursery for her own kid directly adjacent to her office. Oh yes, such a sacrifice you're making, Marissa, you poor working mother, who gets to have her kid at arm's reach all day every day at work.

        God damn selfish, hypocritical cunt! Someone should seize

    • I don't get it. Why is it notable and how is it ironic? Is this some kind of reference to the 1950's image of the stay-at-home mom?
  • by Feneric ( 765069 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @12:50PM (#54082359) Homepage
    Didn't Yahoo! do something similar shortly before tanking? It seems pretty short-sighted to make oneself less competitive at attracting technical workers in the U.S. at a time when many are predicting increased competition for U.S. technical workers.
    • Didn't Yahoo! do something similar shortly before tanking? It seems pretty short-sighted to make oneself less competitive at attracting technical workers in the U.S. at a time when many are predicting increased competition for U.S. technical workers.

      Nonsense - it worked out very well for Marissa Meyer, who is the one that made that decision at Yahoo.

      • That's why she'll make $23 million after she resigns her CEO position at a company she just sold for a meager $4 billion, after being worth $90 billion. Great decision (among many). Bravo!
    • by ghoul ( 157158 )

      H1Bs will be happy to fill these roles. Anyway they are leaving their friends and families. New York, San Francisco, West Bumfuck, Alabama. Its all the same to them.

  • As RTFA, I'm struck that is affects 5.5k marketers (1.5% of the company's workforce) who are not getting the results that their boss is looking for. Ms. Peluso believes that the issue is with employees not being able to effectively work together because they are in different locations (ie their homes). She may very well be right and it's within her authority to bring the employees into the office.

    I guess you could argue that this is the thin edge of the wedge - more IBM employees from other areas who are

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      From the summary:

      Similar announcements had already been made in other departments, and more would be made in the future.

      In other words, it goes way beyond marketing. This sounds more like Phase One of the next round of layoffs; get everyone together to share their knowledge and have one more close look for performance reviews, then the axe falls, again.

      • Even better - get all the company-issued stuff back onsite so it's easier to confiscate when the axes fall.

        Fiserv was (and likely still is) notorious for this during their periodic purges (they do it about once every two years, where x% of each department has to go, regardless of growth). It starts as a demand that all remote-workers come into the office... you knew what was coming next. Within a week or two they start canning all the victims, and everyone is back under the thumb to boot.

    • "She may well be right." Says who? We've all seen some similar and widely publicized changes at other companies, and at the last large corporation I had as a client I went through several similar changes brought about by newly installed department managers. And what I have wondered and continue to wonder is: what do they base this decision on? What data, research, managerial wisdom or personal experience makes them think this works? (And by personal experience, I don't mean "I work better in an office",
  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:06PM (#54082537)
    I know of no better way to piss off the best talent than to say, you have to move to our preferred location to keep your job because, well no particularly great add, just because.....Probably IBM wants to lay off people but this will backfire. The best who don't want to move will simply say, "Bye" and get offer from a variety of companies, even IBM competitors (who are most likely to hire them in a heartbeat on whatever terms they want within reason, including telecommute). The benefits of working together in office over telecommute are less and less with improving video phones, chats and cheaper availability of cell phones, unless there are specific company secrets you don't want in cyberspace perhaps. The end result will be the best of IBM's staff being "Exceptions" or the best leaving, and the most insecure moving, only to be let go later because they were the bottom of the crop anyway. This will be a no win in a series of non-winning actions.
  • IBM does not want any USC working for them they want chained to the job 1hb's.

  • This is what happens when you let a Marketing Puke run (ruin?) a company.
  • by xanthos ( 73578 ) <xanthosNO@SPAMtoke.com> on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:29PM (#54082661)
    *sigh* Will MBA schools please start teaching all the C-level wanna be's that while treating all your employees the same is the easy route to follow it is rarely the best route. Sacrificing known productivity increases from remote work for some mystical hoped for innovations seems to be a bad bet. I can actually see it making sense for the highly creative individuals doing marketing campaigns, but I can't see it being of much use to those whose job is to track and squash code bugs.

    Here's a theory that should fit most Slashdotter's world view:
    The real driver is that the bosses are missing the adulation of the crowds and the face to face sucking up denied them by remote work.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You... really aren't understanding the mindset of the MBA schools. Or perhaps you are and yet you hold out hope in the face of all contrary evidence.

      I just watched a documentary-style report on an MBA school. Their idea was to hire ex-military people who have set up "retreats", put the MBA students into the retreat, stress them out like crazy and build something while they are stressed out. The kicker was, the ex-military hosts deliberately planted someone in the MBA group as a sh*t disturber. Seriously

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @02:22PM (#54083071)

            They did the same thing at the last company I worked for, made all the remote workers start reporting to the nearest office. The company only had a couple of offices in the US, so many of the sales and marketing people worked remotely. The net effect was that all of the good sales and marketing people who had long standing relationships with our customers left the company, taking their knowledge and customer relationships with them, a number ended up working for our competition. Rather than improve efficiency, this policy alienated our customers, got rid of our best sales performers, and hastened the demise of the company.

    • Yes, but was this a bad decision by management? If the CEO walked away with a huge payout, then the answer is no.

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @02:28PM (#54083119) Homepage

    The implications are that either (a) IBM can't properly technologically provide for remote work or (b) IBM is unable to manage remote workers properly. Neither bodes well for their business.

  • Theory X and Y is strong with this one.

    Managers who continually look to put employees into their own egotistical context, rather than focus on performance are not ones I'd wish to work for.

    Working for HP and Intel was never inspiring but IBM seems to be showing it's roots as an old behemoth of a company. I am sure they will do well in the 21st century with 19th century values. They have been around since the late 1800's, who dare tell them they are wrong?

  • good news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @02:39PM (#54083207)

    This is great news. The explosion of talent into new venues should make for a resurgence in creativity. All the people that will now look for work in their own location or better yet, start up their own business should revitalize things. As for IBM, they need to slim down anyway.

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @02:57PM (#54083357)

    What does it say that a tech company like IBM can't effectively use technology to get their teams to collaborate?

  • ' "When you're playing phone tag with someone is quite different than when you're sitting next to someone and can pop up behind them and ask them a question," Peluso says.' No wants to talk to Peluso, clearly by the pop up behind them and ask question statement we can all hate her together.
  • by niks42 ( 768188 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @07:35PM (#54085179)
    I have to say that the decline started a long time ago. This is simply another symptom of a dying culture; it's a death throe. There is no technology issue that forces this change; there is no business, or cultural, or teamworking imperative. It's an attempt at controlling something that looks a lot like leakage. The view from the top, as IBM implodes must seem like someone is shoplifting all of the spare hours, taking all of the passion for the product line, the productivity and creativity away and they must get control back! What they have failed to realise is it's just the force of entropy; they've been shot through by Time's arrow. The only solutions are to re-invent or die.

    . I don't recall Louis V Gerstner worrying about remote working. I *do* remember him going crazy about having hundreds of Vice Presidents, none of whom could give him an elevator pitch on any subject of their choosing without having someone prepare a slide deck for them.

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