Responding to this post of mine in which I examine Hewlett Packard’s recent decision to bring nearly all of its IT staff back to the office, Brett from Oregon writes:
One assumption in this blog post is that HP wants to retain talent. I currently live in an HP town, and HP has been laying off workers left and right. There has not been a single job posting in years. It is widely believed that HP is trying to eliminate facilities and reduce payroll. The layoffs are so severe in Oregon that HP has brokered a deal whereby their layoff numbers are kept secret. Odds are, this rule change away from telecommuting and flexible work schedules is an attempt to get rid of workers who require these flexible schedules. This would reduce unemployment costs from eventual layoffs as well as operational costs.
Interesting point. Bernie Goldbach seems to agree:
WANT TO SQUEEZE your workforce before they cash in on pensions? Then change work practises on them. … HP has a bulge at the 15/50 point–I reckon around 600 people. That’s a trainload full of employees who have been with the company for nearly 15 years or that’s a cohort of seasoned experience approaching 50 years of age. They have to squeeze that cohort because it’s expensive labour with attitude. It’s much easier to impose a lower cost-per-employee on a work force that’s younger and more flexible about work practises and company policies. H-P people with the experience have roots in communities, often hundreds of miles away form their assigned office cubicles. They probably will resign their positions rather than pay the extra petrol charges or move house. And that cuts wage costs at H-P. It also sheds a lot of expertise in places like enterprise services and if imposed with a clock-in system at the main doorway, it could place the efficiency of the printer division at risk.