Last Updated: 20th Sep 2017
Matt: IBM Goes Non-Remote
Like Yahoo a few years ago, IBM, an early pioneer of distributed work, is calling workers back to the office.
The shift is particularly surprising since the Armonk, N.Y., company has been among the business worldâ€™s staunchest boosters of remote work, both for itself and its customers. IBM markets software and services for what it calls â€śthe anytime, anywhere workforce,â€ť and its researchers have published numerous studies on the merits of remote work.
If â€śIBM has boasted that more than 40% of employees worked outside traditional company officesâ€ť and they currently have 380,000 employees (wow), then thatâ€™s 152k people on the market.
As I said when Yahoo did the same, itâ€™s hard to judge this from the outside.A company that was happy about how theyâ€™re doing wouldnâ€™t make a shift this big or this suddenly. Itâ€™s very possible the way distributed folks were interacting with their in-office teams wasnâ€™t satisfactory, especially if they were forced to use subpar in-house tools like SameTime instead of Zoom or Skype. Yahoo didnâ€™t have the best trajectory after they made a similar move, and hopefully IBM isnâ€™t going to follow the same path.
In the meantime, Automattic and many other companies are hiring. If you arenâ€™t going to work in a companyâ€™s headquarters, it is probably safest to work at a company that is fully distributed (no second tier for people not at HQ) rather than be one of a few â€śremoteâ€ť people at a centralized company.