One of the biggest perks of the modern workplace is disappearing

One of the biggest perks of the modern workplace is disappearing

laptop couch

Flickr / Alessandro Valli

Working from home is out - "colocating" is in.

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.

But that all changed in May.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

The company announced 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 employees 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.


As Bloomberg reports, about 60% of US companies currently provide some telecommuting option. According to data pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about a quarter of the US workforce teleworks at some frequency.

What's more, 80% to 90% of the US workforce says 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 calculated that its remote workers performed better in close proximity to their colleagues.


IBM isn't the only early-adopter to change its tune. In 2013, Yahoo CEO 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 current work structures require a level of collaboration that can't be attained without at least some face-to-face interactions.

At the same time, as Business Insider previously reported, workspaces are evolving to suit to the varied 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 remote work options shift their focus to transforming their workspaces and allowing workers 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," social psychologist and "The Best Place To Work" author Ron Friedman previously told Business Insider.


Get the latest IBM stock price here.