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GM January 2024 Return To Office Directive Criticized

GM is calling for white-collar employees to return to office (RTO) following the implementation of a flexible at-home “Work Appropriately” strategy put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the worker response to the latest RTO mandate has been tepid at best, with many workers criticizing the move, and more broadly, GM leadership.

Many GM workers are taking to social media to vent their frustrations regarding the new RTO mandate, with multiple threads on the General Motors subreddit calling out the RTO mandate as unfair, ineffective, and hypocritical.

“Not only is the action of mandating three days a week off-base, the way it was delivered was really deplorable,” writes one user. “Right before the holidays… so we can all stress about how drastically our work lives are going to change in a short amount of time while we’re with our families.” The user goes on to say that General Motors is leaving its employees to scramble to find child care and transportation options over the holidays.

“I still want to see data proving that we are more effective in office than home,” writes another user.

“I’ve been here over a decade and I’ve never see morale this low,” writes another.

“Work appropriately, as long as it’s my way,” writes yet another.

Among the criticisms is the change to an open office format and shared working spaces, which are said to negatively impact camaraderie and make people feel more like a number than an employee. Available work space also seems to be in decline, while employees are facing a compressed workload as well.

Salaried employees are also pointing to a meager 3.5-percent pay increase that fails to even cover inflation, as compared to major gains realized by UAW members following a six-week strike. Employees also point to GM’s recent decision to enact a $10 billion stock buyback program, all while reducing its budget by $2 billion and terminating employees.

Back in October of 2022, GM sent out a company-wide request asking for a return to in-person work starting January 30th, 2023, but so far, employees have been reluctant to fulfill the request. To drive the point home, GM CEO Mary Barra recently sent out a company-wide email saying that workers would be required to RTO at least three times a week by the start of the 2024 calendar year.

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Jonathan Lopez: Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.

View Comments (46)

  • I work full-time in a remote job. I do far more work than what is asked of me and I can avoid the high school office drama BS. If their positions allow for it, let them stay home.

    • “I still want to see data proving that we are more effective in office than home"
      There's a pretty easy answer for why you won't...

      • I've been on a hybrid schedule since 2022. I get my work done and sit with nothing to do, so I drag out tasks/projects. That static time I use to trade options and invest in companies with my extra cash. It is like I have 2 jobs now. I would probably quit if I had to go back to the office full-time.

        • How did I work there 35 years in Engr for GM and manage to raise children and all the things these little crybabies are whining about.

          Cry…. What are you gonna do cry…..

          Better watch out whiners. If it’s so easy to stay home and never interact with other employees or your product it sure would be easy to outsource your job to India.

    • There is a reason it's called a job, that means you do what is best for your employer, not what is more convenient for you. I would encourage these crybabies to start their own companies, then they can work when and where they want.

      • wait but don’t they want proactive workers to help innovate and execute their zero zero zero plans? So these workers are autonomous enough to deliver unrealistic projects but not autonomous enough to know how to determine the best way to collaborate without a mandate?

  • I "returned to office" in June of 2020 with the rest of my office without issue. I CANNOT BELIEVE auto industry employees are still working from home under the auspices for "covid safety". If it's "demoralizing" to have to actually show up to work, perhaps you shouldn't be working... No wonder GM has been "off" the last few years, each of their employees is still wearing sweatpants and phoning it from their bedrooms and withdrawn to working in each of their own little safespace, their own reality. Suddenly this all begining to make a ton of sense. I've had it with this company, their products, and current corporate culture. This is not your father's General Motors Corporation...

    • No one cares about the circumstances of your job and that you returned to office. Everyone’s job is different. There’s no need to waste gas, time and contribute to traffic if you can work from home. This is about control.

      • You're right, and nobody cares about yours! That is precisely why they are requiring what should be considered one of the utmost basic and universal job expectations that every paid employee actually show up to their place of employment reliably. If someone doesn't like a company policy, the door is always open.

        • These whiners should be assigned to one of the manufacturing plants for a while. Working rotating shifts and long hours would be a wake up call. Working in Warren or even downtown Detroit is a cakewalk compared to manufacturing.

      • Yes Bob it’s about control. They are your boss telling you to do something. It’s not illegal, so just do-as they say. They control you when they pay your salary.

        If you don’t need to interact with other employees,
        customers, your product, anything, you can be outsourced to India. Keep it up. The cost cutters are watching. Talk about no value added. Keep it up Bob et al.

        Talk yourself out of a job.

    • Me too, I work for a utility and never left except for the 7 days I worked from home after testing positive for Covid, went in after hours to get my laptop and never took a sick day, and I’m an old guy! It’s not that difficult to be a good employee.

  • There are some GM workers who never stopped coming to work and put their lives on the line every day even when Covid was raging so I take issue with those who dismiss auto workers and cast us as being cry babies WE SHOW UP FOR WORK!

    • Amen! In my role, I was in the plant several weeks before the manufacturing plant population returned to work in April/May 2020. It was like March/April 2020 - in the height of the uncertainty. (Certainly no vaccines yet!) We had to be here to prepare all the social distancing "footprints", signage, sanitation stations, entry protocol, etc. for when everyone returned. We also needed to do certain life-safety, facility preservation and government regulatory compliance tasks - even ones outside our normal area of responsibility (management wanted to limit people who were back early, and since we were back early anyway, we can do those other people's jobs). And yes - our benevolent Federal and State governments did NOT relieve us of deadlines and requirements that were made virtually impossible by the "lockdowns" that those some governments imposed!
      So I have about a grain of sympathy for the WFH people. Like Elon Musk said, you can stop pretending to work and come to the office, or you can quit!

    • Mr Dandy I think they are afraid of being seen in their pajamas for one.

      Maybe sleeping in front of the computer and not doing a days work.

      If you ask me, things started going downhill when suits weren’t required and pretty soon everybody’s walking around like slobs. No standards at all. Of course Bob would say it’s all about control. I agree. Controlling whatever minimal standards the company still has. No professionalism at all now. Gone. Along with pride in yourself.

  • Here's the thing, the trend of people not coming into the office everyday started before the pandemic at GM. Most locations went to the open office setup with only enough desks for 80% of the workforce. Not having everyone in the office everyday was baked into the plan. There were already plenty of people you rarely saw in the office because they realized they got more work done elsewhere. The pandemic made more realize they too got more stuff done at home.

    Never had an issue going into the office at least three days a week but I got tired of living in MI so got a full-time remote job making way more than I ever did at GM.

  • Need I remind people that GM salaried (un-represented) employees are "at will" employees. You have no "guarantees" or contracts like the UAW people. GM does not need "data" or "justification" to change their policy regarding remote work. Heck, do you really think there is data to back up "DEI"?? That is the way they want to do business. There are plenty of things GM does/says that I don't agree with. So far, none have been that "hill I would choose to die on". You have to make that decision for yourself. As for me, WfH was the most UNproductive time, and I couldn't wait to get back to the office! (I have to go let the dog out. While I'm at it, I might as well take the garbage out. Sure, I can run a load of laundry or the dishwasher before that next meeting starts. Conflicting schedules with the wife and kids also working or schooling from home, Etc. Etc.) That being said, I like having the flexibility to Work from Home every once in a while (like when my boiler needs servicing, or I have a mid-day doctor's appointment and it makes no sense to come to the office, or if I need the focus time, without interruptions, to complete certain things - like required training).

  • If you want to work from home, start your own business, you then determine your own hours, Work Environment and Financial Destiny, no need to complain off of someone else's Paycheck that's given to you.

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