Dell Asked Employees to Return to the Office or Accept the Consequences. 50% Will Accept the Consequences

  • Since February, Dell has been pressuring its employees to return to the office, stating that they could be let go or face challenges in their advancement.

  • 50% of employees have accepted the consequences of working from home.

Dell asked employees to return to the office or face the consequences. 50% will accept the consequences
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The end of COVID-19 restrictions led many companies to go back on on their promises of permanent remote work and force employees to return to the office.

Dell is undoubtedly one of the companies that has created the most chaos for employees with its return-to-office policy. As such, nearly 50% of its employees would rather lose their jobs than return to the office.

A breakdown of Dell’s return-to-office soap opera. In February, Dell began pressuring its employees to return to the office, forcing them to choose between a hybrid three-day-a-week model in one of its offices or working 100% remotely.

But this was easier said than done, and the options weren't good for many employees. If they chose to work remotely, Dell said they wouldn’t be eligible for promotions. If they decided to go to the office, they might not be near one because the company had sold so many of them. This meant that employees had to move out of state to live close to an office.

Tracking attendance with colored flags. In May, when the back-to-office plan was a little more on track, Dell implemented a system of colored flags in its internal communications system that indicated whether the employee was in the office 39 days a quarter (3 days a week) or working remotely.

50% of employees got red cards from the company. According to Business Insider, nearly 50% of Dell’s U.S. employees and 33% of the company’s international personnel have chosen to work 100% remotely, which prevents them from being considered for promotions or role changes.

“My team is spread out around the world. Almost 90% of the team did the same as in our case there was no real advantage going to the office,” one Dell employee told Business Insider. The media outlet had the opportunity to speak with a dozen workers, who gave distinct reasons for choosing to work remotely.

Going to the office to work remotely. Many employees who chose to go to Dell’s offices confirmed that they were spending their day on video calls in nearly empty offices with people in other half-empty offices worldwide. In other words, they were still working remotely—but from Dell's offices.

Working from home in spite of everything. Many who chose to work remotely did so because they had no choice, as Dell had closed the offices near their homes. The situation would have forced them to move to be closer to other offices, something they didn’t want to do. As such, if working remotely condemned them to exile, they were happy to accept it. “Dell closed down the facility in 2020 that I worked at, so I have no office to return to,” one worker explained.

For many, working remotely has helped them realize they can do the same job from home and still have more time for family, friends, and leisure. “The more time I have to spend in the office, the less time, money, and personal space I have for all of that. I can do my job just as well from home and have all of those personal benefits as well,” several employees told the media outlet.

Employees confirmed that going to the office is an additional cost the company doesn’t compensate for: “With the salary that we are receiving, a return to the office would leave a huge hole in our budget.”

No incentives for promotion. For many employees, the threat of not being promoted if they chose to telecommute seemed absurd. “I’ve got nothing left to get promoted to unless I want to get into management,” one senior engineer told Business Insider.

The obstacles, pressure, and dissatisfaction created by the back-to-office policy have caused many to consider looking for another job, with some saying that they’ll leave the company as soon as they find one. “Before this whole fiasco, I wouldn’t have considered going somewhere else,” one employee added.

If Dell planned to force its employees to resign to reduce the cost of layoffs, it may be succeeding, at least partly. However, it will have to pay the excessive cost of silent quitting and talent drain that the affected employees report in real- time.

Image | Wikimedia Commons (World Economic Forum) | Unsplash (Chase Chappell)

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