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News » SAP employees protest mandated office returns

SAP employees protest mandated office returns

Photo from SAP

WALLDORF, GERMANY — German software company SAP SE is facing internal backlash over its recent policy requiring employees to return to the office (RTO) three days per week starting in April. 

An open letter criticizing the mandate has garnered over 5,000 employee signatures in just two weeks.

“We feel betrayed by a company that until recently encouraged us to work from home, only to ask for a radical change in direction,” according to the letter, posted internally and seen by Bloomberg.

Employees claim they will now seek jobs elsewhere rather than complying. Previously, a survey reported that mandated office returns led to surging attrition rates.

SAP’s CEO Christian Klein defended the policy, saying that remote work would harm the company’s culture and teamwork. “I’m not a big believer that on a video conference platform you can understand our culture, you can get educated, and you can get enabled to do your job best,” Klein said.

The back-to-office policy follows SAP’s recent €2 billion (​​US$2.2 billion) restructuring plan impacting 8,000 positions to boost its focus on artificial intelligence (AI). 

The firm explained that the shift aims to “prepare for highly scalable future revenue growth” centered around AI solutions for enterprise customers.

Many tech companies have tightened RTO requirements amid a difficult economic climate, contrasting with earlier perks allowing location flexibility.

Multinational technology corporation International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has instructed all managers in the United States to report in person to an office or client location at least three days per week, regardless of current remote work arrangements.

A ResumeBuilder.com survey found that 91% of companies will require employees to go into the office at least monthly this year, while 75% will mandate at least weekly office work.  

Meanwhile, Live Data Technologies revealed that fully remote employees are more likely to be let go compared to hybrid or in-office staff. 

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