My company used to be known for its remote worker policies; encouraging to live where they wanted to and work remotely. That changed a number of years ago and like IBM, they began issuing ultimatums — return to the office or find a new job. And not just any company office, of which we have plenty, but an office where your specific business group or function is located. we lost a lot of highly productive employees as a result and for those that did return, we broke trust.
Still, I have a few holdovers (truly remote employees) but all my engineers can and do work from home, on travel, on vacation or from where ever; often. They’re just no longer considered “remote” employees because they have a cube with their name on it. I’ve been an engineering manager now for 16 years and from the beginning I’ve set up technology, processes and work culture to encourage remote access. There have been a few employees (in the minority) who don’t manage the freedom well, but then, even when not working remotely, there are always employees who have productivity issues.
Technology has advanced significantly over 16 years and now, even when my employees are in the office, they are scattered across multiple sites, multiple states and even multiple countries so; how is working remotely (at home) any different? It isn’t.
The pendulum will swing back towards remote employees again, it's a love hate (control) issue with corporations. They have big buildings they need to fill to justify their expense. As they trim and become more nimble, they’ll realize that it's not a building with a name on it that forms the backbone of the company, it's the people; and happy, committed employees are what makes a company thrive.