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Dell backtracks on remote work promise, asks staff to return to office

Even if Dell is one of many businesses requesting that employees return to work, there is no consensus

Despite assuring staff that they may, when appropriate, continue to work from home, Dell is now reportedly backtracking on its ‘promise’ and requesting that staff members report to the office.

Instead of focusing on specific job tasks, Dell asks employees within an hour of the headquarters to work from there three days a week.

They have requested employee presence on an “as soon as you can arrange it” basis, acknowledging that the news may make it difficult for certain employees to locate adequate provisions, such as daycare.

Back To Office

The announcement comes from COO Jeff Clarke, who sees the action as defining what hybrid working means for the organization more precisely.

Early in the COVID period, Clarke said that work is “a result, not a location or a time,” and nearly two-thirds of corporate workers can continue working remotely.

“After all of this investment to enable remote everything, we will never go back to the way things were before,” Clarke said in a Q2 2021 earnings call.

“Here at Dell, we expect, on an ongoing basis, that 60% of our workforce will stay remote or have a hybrid schedule where they work from home mostly and come into the office one or two days a week,” he stated back then.

Dell also talked about his company’s productivity is at an all-time high in a September 2022 LinkedIn blog post, defending the remote work culture and stating that forced office work is “doing it wrong.”

This move is a return to pre-pandemic normality rather than a compromise when employees typically spend around half the week at the office as part of a hybrid schedule.

Even if Dell is one of many businesses requesting that employees return to work, there is no consensus. For example, workers were outraged when Amazon urged them to return to work in early 2023. Google attempted the same thing but instructed staff members in its Cloud division to share a desk with a coworker twice weekly.

On the other end of the spectrum, Microsoft released a study showing that employees were indeed productive at home (and sometimes much more so); it was that managers lacked trust in their staff.

In any case, Dell is only one of many businesses beginning to resume office-based labour.

A firm representative stated, “We informed our team members that we would resume more flexible and hybrid work as the world adapted to life after the pandemic. The future workplace will be hybrid, and our culture’s commitment to flexibility will be a critical differentiation. Team members should prepare to be on-site at least three days per week if they live within an hour or less of a significant Dell office. We will work with team members individually if they require a full-time remote work schedule.”

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