Dell Slaps Remote Workers with Brutal Office Ultimatum

Leaked Dell memos reveal employees can continue to work remotely, but they won't be eligible for promotions or new roles.

It has been scarcely over a month since Dell announced a return to office mandate that, by the company’s own admission, was designed to help “thin the herd” of its workforce.

Now, the tech giant appears to be doubling down on its uncompromising RTO stance, with a new leaked memo revealing that the company has plainly told its employees they won’t get promoted unless they commit to attending the office.

It goes as far as to say that fully remote Dell workers won’t be eligible to apply for many vacant positions at the firm, as most will specify hybrid working as a job requirement.

Dell Blocking Promotions for Fully Remote Workers

The new report comes to us via Business Insider (BI), which says it obtained a leaked internal memo from Dell to its employees fully outlining the company’s new hybrid vs remote working policy.

On the plus side, Dell will continue to offer select fully remote jobs to those that want them. It’s just making plain that these staffers won’t be eligible for the same career advancement as those who work in a hybrid capacity.

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As per the memo: “For remote team members, it is important to understand the trade-offs: Career advancement, including applying to new roles in the company, will require a team member to reclassify as hybrid onsite.”

Understandably, Dell employees say the company’s rank-and-file have been “complaining behind closed doors” given it will amount to a de facto relocation notice for some employees, as well as stopping many others from climbing the career ladder if home working is their preference.

What Hybrid Work at Dell Looks Like

Under Dell’s new system, hybrid roles are stipulated as attending one of the company’s “approved” locations 39 days a quarter, which works out as approximately three days a week, as is becoming the industry standard among companies ending fully remote work.

In a statement to BI, Dell defended its new focus on hybrid working, saying that “in-person connections paired with a flexible approach are critical to drive innovation and value differentiation.”

As canned corporate musings go, it scores at least 90/100 on the jargon-o-meter, with Dell’s recent RTO U-turn being made all the more incomprehensible by the fact it has so been so vocal in its commitment to flexible working in the past.

The Curious Case of Dell’s Return to Office Mandate

Dell’s workforce appear to be very confused by the company’s shift towards an enforced return to office this year, as well it might be.

In the past, Dell employees stated that the industry titan “cared about the work, not the location,” while its namesake CEO Michael Dell has been on the record multiple times as saying remote work was “absolutely here to stay.”

He even once went as far as to publicly shame less flexible companies on LinkedIn, posting: “If you are counting on forced hours spent in a traditional office to create collaboration and provide a feeling of belonging within your organization, you’re doing it wrong.”

However, the company now appears to be joining the herd as well as wanting to thin its herd, even if it comes at the expense of employees who now live far enough from a green lighted office to make hybrid work an impossibility.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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