Employees in IBM's software division have become the latest tech workers to face a return-to-office mandate, in this case requiring them to be in the office for a minimum of three days a week, starting from today.
Unlike other return to office mandates that have been put in place by Amazon, Google, Meta, and Zoom in recent months, IBM’s requirement will affect employees across the globe, rather than just workers who are based in the US.
"Starting next week, all IBM Software employees will be required to spend at least 3 days in the office each week. The decision on which days will be left to managers and individual project teams," read an internal blog written by IBM Software's Kareem Yusuf, senior vice president for product management, and Dinesh Nirmal, senior vice president for products. The blog post was published on September 5, with its content first reported by The Register.
According to the blog post, the mandate will initially just apply to employees living within 50 miles of an IBM office, with those that live further out being "exempt at this time.”
IBM has yet to respond to questions about when employees living further than 50 miles will be required to be back in the office, if other IBM divisions will be rolling out similar mandates, and whether a failure to meet the new attendance requirements will result in disciplinary action or termination, as other companies have stated office it will.
"It is vital to our culture and our shared goals — tripling development output, building winning products, and winning new clients — that we spend more meaningful time together, in-person,” the blog reportedly read, noting that right now, one in four IBM Software employees are working in the office three days a week, a figure the division wants to reach to three in four by October.
IBM plans to replace jobs with AI
In May, IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna conducted an interview with Bloomberg during which he said the company plans to use AI to replace almost 8,000 jobs, adding that the company was also looking to cut down hiring for roles that could be replaced with AI.
It was estimated this would amount to around 26,000 roles, which include non-customer facing jobs and back-office functions such as HR, Krishnasaid, adding that 30% of such roles, or approximately 7,800 jobs, could be replaced with AI or automation over the next five years.
Krishna’s comments on AI replacing humans come just months after the company said it would cut 3,900 jobs or 1.5% of its workforce.