IBM's new CEO Arvind Krishna is calling on the government to create standards to guide companies on how to help employees return to the office after working from home.
“My hope is that government can help in giving us all some common standards, otherwise, we may return to work but a client we call on may have a different standard," Krishna said in an interview with CNN's Julia Chatterley Tuesday. "That would cause a lot of mayhem."
Krishna took over as chief executive of the tech giant from Ginni Rometty on April 6, as the company grappled with the fallout from coronavirus. Not long before that, IBM (IBM) had sent about 95% of its staff to work from home.
Now, IBM plans to start returning workers to the office in the coming weeks, a process Krishna said will “happen in waves.” He added that getting workers safely back to the office will be aided by social distancing measures, personal protective equipment, testing and other protocols. He said he doesn’t expect all employees to be back in the office until the end of the year.
In the meantime, Krishna and others at IBM have signed the “IBM Work From Home Pledge,” in an effort to help employees feel supported as they continue working remotely.
The pledge includes promises to support, among other things, “flexibility for personal needs” and “‘not camera ready’ times.”
Just because we’re at home, we shouldn’t be working all the time,” Krishna said. “It’s okay to be video sensitive, there may be things happening in the background we don’t want to expose to video. It may be okay to say, ‘I need 30 minutes in the middle of the day to cater to a child, or a pet, or a parent.’ … Coming to really a new normal of how we work with each other is essential.”