July 18, 2024

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Broadcom CEO orders VMWare ‘get butt back to office’

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Chip manufacturer Broadcom wrote the latest chapter in the long story of return-to-office tensions between bosses and employees. 

After completing its $69 billion acquisition of cloud computing company VMWare, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan issued a direct order to his new employees about where they must work. “If you live within 50 miles of an office, you get your butt in here,” he told the workers of previously remote-friendly VMWare.  

The comments came during a meeting Tan hosted on Tuesday after the merger between the two companies officially closed, following approval from Chinese regulators. Like many other executives, Tan cited in-person work’s benefits to collaboration and company culture. “Collaboration is important and a key part of sustaining a culture with your peers, with your colleagues,” he said. 

There was no word on what employees thought of the mandate specifically, but there had been reports of broader concerns regarding the merger with Broadcom, according to Business Insider. Broadcom has a history of chafing at remote work even during the pandemic, going as far as ordering some employees back to the office as early as April 2020, in defiance of California’s statewide stay-at-home orders. 

In recent months, a growing amount of research has pointed to the benefits of in-person work, especially when it comes to on-the-job training and career advancement. Proponents of remote work say it can help close gaps in promotion rates for women, for example. And workers seem to prefer at least partial remote work flexibility to the point that some would even be willing to take a 20% pay cut in order to keep the perk. However, in contrast to Broadcom, some companies, such as Atlassian, Dropbox, and Airbnb, have remained committed to remote work.  

Broadcom isn’t alone in its back-to-the-office mandate. Insurance company Farmers Group faced an outcry from employees when new CEO Raul Vargas reversed his predecessor’s remote…

Paolo Confino

2023-12-02 08:00:00

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