Remote work may not benefit all employees, says IBM CEO

Remote work may stall the upward progression of an employee’s career, especially if they are looking to become leaders, said Arvind Krishna.
By: | May 5, 2023

Remote work may not necessarily be beneficial for employees if they are looking to climb higher in an organisation, suggested Arvind Krishna, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Business Machines Corp (IBM).

During an interview in New York, as reported by,  he said, “Being a people manager when you’re remote is just tough because if you’re managing people, you need to be able to see them once in a while. It doesn’t need to be every minute. You don’t need to function under those old ‘Everybody’s under my eye’ kind of rules, but at least sometimes.”

Believing that people work better when they are together in person, Krishna says the ideal number of days employees should be in the office is three days, which IBM’s return-to-office policy is encouraging employees to do. Those who choose not to do so, run the risk of being overlooked for promotion, especially for managerial roles, he added.

READ: Why remote work is still of central importance

80% of IBM’s employees are currently operating on a hybrid work arrangement and while acknowledging that remote work can be beneficial for organisations, Krishna opined that remote work is best suited for specific “individual contributor” roles like customer service or software programmers.

Remote employees, he added, do not benefit from learning soft skills such as dealing with difficult clients or making trade-offs when designing a new product. “In the short term, you probably can be equally productive, but your career does suffer,” Krishna concluded.