Michael Dell chides CEOs returning to the office: ‘You’re doing it wrong’ | CRN

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News from the data center


O’Ryan Johnson


“If you’re counting on enforced hours in a traditional office to create collaboration and a sense of belonging to your organization, you’re doing something wrong,” Dell says of his tech colleagues who mandate office hours.





Remote workers, you have a friend in Michael Dell.

While other tech CEOs lug keyboard commands back to headquarters, the Dell Technologies The leader said it won’t solve the teamwork or culture-building challenges that some say plague the remote work environment.

“Even several of my technology industry colleagues have pushed for bringing their teams back to physical offices to ‘get more involved’ or have a more visible presence,” Dell said in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday. “If you’re relying on enforced hours in a traditional office to create collaboration and instill a sense of belonging within your organization, you’re doing something wrong.”

AT&T said in a statement last month that “[w]We do our best work when we work together,” ordered workers back into offices, a move that union members at the company have protested. Apple workers distributed a petition in Cupertino demanding that “remote work” be allowed to continue. And Datto recently ordered his employees to return to the office earlier than expected when the company was bought by Kaseya. The company’s CEO, Fred Voccolla, told employees during a town hall that the data says they are more productive in the office.

Dell said he doesn’t make those decisions based on his own feelings, but “based on our culture and on the facts of our internal data.”

“Ultimately, we’re committed to giving team members around the world the ability to choose the work style that best suits their lifestyle—whether remote, in the office, or a mix of both,” Dell said. “Our business results show it’s working for us, and I believe this model will eventually be embraced as the future of work.”

Last year, Dell conducted a comprehensive global future of work technology survey. The company commissioned British firm Vanson Bourne to conduct the study, which surveyed 10,500 “senior business and IT executives and knowledge workers, from small to large businesses and across 14 industries, in 40 locations.”

The survey — which was peer-reviewed — found that 80 percent of workers think remote work creates a more inclusive work environment while giving employees more time to work, achieve financial independence, care for loved ones or follow others interests will give.

However, according to Dell, the study also shows that 58 percent of those surveyed do not yet have a better work-life balance, while 41 percent believe their colleagues suffer from burnout that impairs productivity.

“(I)t doesn’t mean forcing everyone to go back to an office is the answer,” Dell wrote. “Rather, it underscores the importance of culture and the responsibility of leaders to create the right culture for their organizations. Leveraging technology and internal insights across common touchpoints with teams is more important than ever.”


O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to learn from channel partners how he can improve his reporting and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at [email protected].


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