Dell Staff Rebelling Against Return to Office Threats

Earlier in the year the company told staff to come back to the office or miss promotions. Data shows many staff don't care.

New data has revealed that Dell’s staunch return to office policy isn’t having the desired effect, with many staff still choosing not to come in.

The company has been making headlines over the last year with its aggressive campaign to fill its physical locations, even going so far as to withhold promotions for those who continue to work from home.

However, an internal survey shows that many are simply choosing the remote life over career advancement.

Employees Call Dell’s Bluff on Promotions Threat

According to internal data seen by Business Insider, Dell’s threat to pause promotions for employees who refuse to come into the office is not having the desired affect, with many staff simply choosing to stay at home and forego career advancement.

Reportedly, around 50% of Dell employees are choosing to stay away from the office, and it’s not just US staff either. One third of international employees are also not returning to the office.

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Speaking to Business Insider, some staff who opted to stay at home stated that they were unwilling to spend time and money on the commute, while others said that when they do go into the office, they are surrounded by empty desks, and have conference calls with other Dell employees in similarly empty offices.

A Short History of Dell’s Return to Office Mandate

Like most other companies, Dell asked its staff to work from home early in 2020, when the pandemic was beginning its global sweep, and initially, had a fairly relaxed attitude to remote work, even encouraging the practice when pandemic conditions started to ease.

Nowhere is this more evident than in this quote from Dell CEO, Michael Dell, back in 2022:

“But from my experience, 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.” Dell CEO, Michael Dell, 2022

Given those words, you could be forgiven for thinking that Dell employees could rely on the option to work remotely going forward.

However, just one year later, in 2023, Dell demanded that staff who work within an hour’s commute, return to the office.

Less than a year later, this demand was extended to all staff, regardless of location, who were told they must come back to the office for a minimum of 39 days a quarter.

A month later, in March 2024, a leaked memo showed that Dell employees were being told that their career progression would be paused and they would be passed over for promotion, if they didn’t return to the office.

“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.”- Dell memo, March 2024

To show it was serious about its RTO demands, information appeared in May of this year which revealed that Dell had implemented a color coding system to show which staff were clocking into the office, with those who weren’t, receiving a red flag on their record.

This war of attrition between Dell and its employees seems far from over, and with a strong contingent of staff refusing to go back to the office, the question is, what will Dell do next, and can its employees win their fight?

Return to Office Still Divisive in 2024

There is a clear split when it comes to companies that are for and against remote working. We have had to continually add to our list of companies that have called staff back to the officedespite the strong evidence of the benefits of letting staff work from home.

However, there are still plenty of companies that are happy to welcome remote workers, and we continue to highlight these every month, if you’re a Dell employee looking to jump ship, or just anyone that doesn’t want to do the commute anymore, check out remote roles for June, as well as Microsoft remote jobs for June, and Google remote jobs, too.

If you don’t want to leave your current job, but would like to do it from home, check out our guide to asking to work remotely.

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Written by:
Jack is the Deputy Editor for He has over 15 years experience in publishing, having covered both consumer and business technology extensively, including both in print and online. Jack has also led on investigations on topical tech issues, from privacy to price gouging. He has a strong background in research-based content, working with organisations globally, and has also been a member of government advisory committees on tech matters.
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