A hot potato: Imagine that a massive company has just bought your employer for billions and the first thing it does is lay off 2,800 people before telling everyone else to get their “butt” back into the office. That’s exactly what Broadcom has done following its acquisition of VMware.
It was back in 2022 when Broadcom, known for designing and manufacturing semiconductor products, announced plans to buy cloud computing and virtualization technology company VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $61 billion. The deal also sees Broadcom assuming VMware’s $8 billion in debt.
Broadcom said it had completed the acquisition of VMware last November 22. As is often the case with mergers, one of the first actions being taken by Broadcom is to implement mass layoffs across the company it’s just bought.
At least 2,837 VMware employees across multiple states will be losing their jobs, including 1,267 at its California Palo Alto campus. But even more of VMware’s 38,300 global workforce could be under threat; the final number might be even higher as not all the layoffs require WARN notices, which list the reason as “economic.”
If that isn’t enough to anger VMware employees, those who aren’t being fired have been given an ultimatum by Broadcom CEO Hock Tan: “If you live within 50 miles of an office, you get your butt in here,” he said.
“Collaboration is important and a key part of sustaining a culture with your peers, with your colleagues,” Tan added.
VMware has long been a remote-friendly company, a stark contrast to Broadcom, which is so anti-work-from-home that it ordered some employees back into the office in April 2020, despite California’s stay-at-home orders.
Few issues have caused such a rift between workers and employers quite like WFH. Many companies promised their staff that the remote work practices implemented during the pandemic would be permanent. But an increasing number of firms, including Amazon, Roblox, Google, and IBM, are telling employees they can either come back or find another job.
We’ve also seen an increasing number of reports recently about the benefits of in-office work and downsides of WFH, including this one that supposedly shows an 18% decline in productivity by home workers. However, forcing employees back has led to walkouts and petitions against the move. It’s no surprise, given that some people say they’d rather quit or take a pay cut than return to the office.