The General Motors Company (GM) asked corporate employees to return to the office, at least part time. Those who worked remotely during the pandemic were expected to “pivot to a more regular in-person work cycle,” which includes three days on GM’s campus each week, a spokesperson said last Friday. Then, just this Tuesday, the company backtracked and clarified, in a second announcement, that the company won’t be mandating specific in-office days — leaving that decision to individual teams instead.
“Our plan was always, and still is, collaboratively design the solution that best balances the needs of the enterprise with the needs of each of you,” the memo, signed by CEO Mary Barra and other executives and acquired by CNBC, states.
The follow-up message says no one will be required to return to offices sooner than the first quarter of next year.
“While we have maintained a highly collaborative culture over the past two years during a very challenging time, the intangible benefits of in person collaboration are going to be a critical success factor as we move into a period of rapid launches,” the Tuesday message said. “This evolution is about being ready for the next phase of our transformation.”
GM apologized for the timing and vagueness of the original announcement. Leaders said that it was hastily sent out after the company’s plans were prematurely shared to some departments.
“We elected to communicate enterprise wide before we had the opportunity to collaborate more broadly on the implementation plan. We believe the benefits of being transparent — even with suboptimal timing and partial details — outweighed the risk of creating mistrust by having you hear the information second hand,” the Tuesday message reads.
GM said it will communicate more information at the end of next month, as the company intends to spend the “next few weeks continuing to listen to your feedback so that we incorporate it into our implementation plans.”
The company employs more than 94,000 people in the U.S., including about 2,300 workers at its Detroit Renaissance Center global headquarters, according to the company’s website.