In the 1980s, IBM was a pioneer in the work-from-home revolution, offering its employees the ability to work remotely.
Since then, it has frequently made lists of the best companies for telecommuting or flexible work.
The company announced in February that about 2,600 people in its marketing department and an unknown number of employees in IT, procurement, and Watson-related departments would be required to work — or “colocate” — in one of six US cities. If an employee chose not to work in their designated city, they’d have to look for a new job.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, this may be a sign that one of the biggest perks of the modern workplace is disappearing.
Bloomberg reports that about 60% of US companies provide some telecommuting option. And data pulled from the Bureau of Labour Statistics shows that about a quarter of the US workforce teleworks with some frequency.
What’s more, 80% to 90% of employees in the US say they would like to telework at least part time.
But many of them may not get what they want.
After 20 consecutive quarters of falling revenue, IBM found that its remote workers performed better near their colleagues, Bloomberg reported.
IBM isn’t the only early adopter to change its tune. In 2013, the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, gave hundreds of employees an ultimatum: work in the office or quit.
Bloomberg offers one explanation for the change of heart: Critics of remote work argue that our work structures require a level of collaboration that can’t be attained without at least some face-to-face interaction.
At the same time, Business Insider previously reported, workspaces are evolving to suit the needs of its workers with a diverse mix of spaces, furniture, and amenities.
In the next decade or so, we may see more companies that offer the option to work remotely shift their focus to transforming their workspaces and allowing employees to “colocate” in satellite offices around the globe.
“Offering a selection of spaces for workers to choose from is going to become essential for business success,” Ron Friedman, a social psychologist who wrote the book “The Best Place to Work,” previously told Business Insider.
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