Nearly half of Dell’s full-time workforce in the U.S. has rejected returning to the office. They’d rather work from home than get promoted

Nearly half of Dell’s full-time workforce in the U.S. has rejected returning to the office. They’d rather work from home than get promoted

Even months after a technology company Dell pushed its strict return-to-office policy barring fully remote employees from promotions, its workers still refuse to return to in-person work.

Nearly 50% of Dell’s full-time U.S. workforce and a third of international employees continued to work remotely, according to internal company data. Business Insider reported. Unless these employees return to the office or Dell changes its remote work policy, they won’t move up the ranks.

Remote workers were willing to defy company policy because the benefits of staying home simply outweighed what they thought in-person work had to offer.

“The more time I have to spend in the office, the less time, money, and personal space I have for all of this,” one employee told Insider. “I can just as easily do my job from home and get all these personal benefits as well.”

Other employees found that returning to work in person was simply not practical given the nature of their work.

“My team is spread all over the world. Almost 90% of the team did the same, because in our case there was no real benefit to going to the office,” said another employee.

Several Dell employees told Insider that they worked with team members in different time zones and held meetings requiring them to be present at times when it would not be appropriate to be onsite. Others said they lived too far from the company site or that a nearby Dell office had recently closed.

Dell did not immediately respond to Fortune” responded to the request for comment, but told Insider that he believes “in-person connections combined with a flexible approach are key to driving innovation and value differentiation.”

It is The RTO policy deployed in March it certainly reflects that. The policy reclassified employees as remote and hybrid workers, with those in the latter category required to work in person at least 30 days per quarter, approximately three days per week. In a 2022 blog postthe company has set a goal of having 60% of its workforce remote at all times.

In May, Dell repressed in enforcement, by instituting additional means of tracking employee attendance in the office. The tech company began tracking how often employees swiped their e-keycards and their VPN usage to see which staff members actually showed up three days a week. Those who received blue flags and employees who showed up less frequently received green and yellow flags, while never-seen employees received blue flags. literal red flags of the society.

But time and again, remote employees have shown their disdain for policies like these: After the software company SAP began enforcing its RTO rules in January, 5,000 employees signed a letter ” to business leaders in a rebellion against remote working, saying they felt “betrayed” by the policy. A October 2023 survey by FlexJobs found that among 8,400 U.S. workers, 17% of employees would sacrifice up to 20% of their pay if they could work remotely. More than half of those surveyed said they knew someone who was planning to quit their job due to an unwanted RTO mandate.

“The lack of remote work options is a significant reason why people leave their jobs,” Keith Spencer, career expert at FlexJobs, wrote in the report.

How to quell the remote work rebellion

Despite anger over inflexible RTO policies, Dell’s strict set of rules follows a trend in businesses favor hybrid and in-person employees, particularly when it comes to promotion. According to a January report From employment data platform Live Data Technologies, companies have maintained their stance on rewarding in-person employees.

Out of 2 million white-collar workers, 5.6% of hybrid and in-person staff received a promotion at work last year, compared to 3.9% of remote workers. Ninety percent of CEOs surveyed said they would favor employees who come to the office for a raise or beneficial assignment.

“People may not like it, but I can’t build a business by playing to the lowest common denominator,” said Vineet Jain, CEO of software company Egnyte. say it Wall Street Journal. “If you don’t show up and work with the rest of your colleagues, it demonstrates a lack of connectivity and a lack of ownership. »

But Stanford economist Nick Bloom don’t buy the strategy of strict RTO policies and found that hybrid working in particular has its advantages in the workplace ecosystem. According to a study of which he is the author and published In Nature This month, employees who worked from home twice a week reported greater job satisfaction and reduced turnover compared to employees working only in person. In fact, these flexible arrangements slightly improved the productivity of a group of 1,612 employees at a Chinese technology company between 2021 and 2022. It also had no impact on promotion rates.

Although he didn’t tout the benefits of working exclusively remotely, Bloom argued for flexibility for workers, not only for their own sake, but also for that of managers who hope to keep their talented employees.

“The results are clear: hybrid working is a win-win in terms of productivity, performance and employee loyalty. » Bloom said.

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