HP follows Yahoo's lead in 'work from home' crackdown

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HP follows Yahoo's lead in 'work from home' crackdown
In a bid to revitalise its work flow and processes in the face of shrinking profits, HP has asked employees to stop working from home in a Q&A-style memo, echoing fellow-embattled company, Yahoo's similar directive from earlier this year.

The parallels are striking; however, HP's new policy is far more wide-reaching and difficult to implement, with its workforce of over 300,000 employees globally (and their requisite workspace), compared to Yahoo's 11,000 employees.

The internally-circulated memo, titled "My Workplace, My HP Community" shared with AllThingsD, says the new policy is part of HP's "cultural shift," and will serve to "create a more connected workforce and drive greater collaboration and innovation". The company maintained however, that it would continue to offer "flexible work arrangement options," but with "greater clarity and consistency about how to use them."

You can read the HP memo in its entirety below, which answers questions about the timing of the move, its relevance with company strategy and culture, and which employees are being affected. The Q&A-style memo was evidently written taking into account the fallout of Yahoo's directive, which had engendered the ire of numerous critics (both internal and external) who questioned the manner and tone of the communication.

With the growing difficulties of long-distance commuting, expensive workspace (and its maintenance), globally-organised workflows, and the ease of telecommuting with always-on communication services, cloud-sharing, and collaborative tools, the idea of working from home continues to gain support, not just from employees. Employers, faced with the scarcity of workspace, often allow, or even encourage work from home practices. According to the AllThingsD report, HP had taken a similar approach with its workspace management issues.

The troubled HP has mentioned it will be looking to take advantage of underutilised workspace, and the report lists some of the company's newest offices across the world as a starting point. The report on HP's 'work at office' memo comes at a time when CEO Meg Whitman was making headlines for asking fellow employees to take the company's steady decline personally, specifically, the removal of HP from the Dow Jones Industrial Average benchmark index.

Full text of the reported HP memo can be found below:

My Workplace, My HP Community.

What is the goal of the effort?

As part of the company's overall turnaround strategy, there is an effort underway to bring employees who currently work from home to work from the office. This effort is part of the company's cultural shift and will help create a more connected workforce and drive greater collaboration and innovation. In some major sites thereto large amount of underutilized workspace and we want to make the best use of our space. HP will maintain flexible work arrangement options, but with greater clarity and consistency about how to use them.

Why now?
During this critical turnaround period, HP needs all hands on deck. We recognize that in the past, we may have asked certain employees to work from home for various reasons. We now need to build a stronger culture of engagement and collaboration and the more employees we get into the office the better company we will be. Belief in the power of our people is a core principle of the HP Way Now. Employees are at the center of what we do, we achieve competitive advantages through our people. HP has amazing employees who are driving great change. We believe the more employees we have working together, the better for HP and our customers.

How does this support the company strategy end culture?
We want to make HP a great place to work and build a stronger HP Way Now culture of engagement and collaboration. Employees who are more connected tend to be more collaborative, productive, and knowledgeable They will also have a greater sense of the company goals and experience a greater sense of pride in HP. We believe that having employees work from the office will unite and inspire them to achieve higher levels of operational excellence and innovation.

Which employees are affected?
The overall effort is designed to increase collaboration among all employees, including employees who regularly work from home despite having an assigned desk at a site, telework employees who are near HP sites, and those who regularly work in an office now. Employees with part-time or job share arrangements are expected to work from the office. Where legally permissible, contingent workers also are expected to work from the office.
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