RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Going to the office at IBM will be a much more rare occurrence at IBM as the world begins to emerge from COVID-19 social distancing requirements, says its top executive.

In fact, IBM – which operates one of its largest global campsuses in terms of square footage – is likely to cut its amount of office space substanially.

So says IBM Chair and CEO Arvind Krishna.

IBM also owns Raleigh-based Red Hat which occupies a major office tower in the heart of the capital city’s downtown.

Some 10% of IBM workers have returned to office work, Krishna noted.

As much as 80% of IBM workers “will spend at least three days a week, maybe not all eight to 10 hours, but at least some fraction of those three days, in the office,” Krishna told Bloomberg News.

In other words, a hybrid model for work, as Bloomberg described it.

IBM is hardly alone. Some 65% of companies are considering a “flexible remote working model,” Bloomberg notes, citing a survey from Zoom Video Communications.

Krishan said as a result of the change in workforce environment the global tech giant could close office space. It maintains some 70 million square feet of space worldwide.

More than half of the current space is likely to be retained, he said. Other space will be “reconfigured to facilitate collaboration,” Bloomberg added, citing Krishna.

Last May, IBM posted on its intranet to employees a “playbook” that that it intended to follow as it begins to open its doors.

The guideline includes plans for a phased return, enhanced testing, contact tracing, treatment, physical changes to the office space and a list of readiness checks. There’s also a section on and how a “wave 2” of COVID-19 could impact return-to-work planning and progress.

“We can’t predict when we will have Raleigh IBMers return to the workplace, but we are vigorously preparing,” said IBM sokesperson Zach Rowe.

Read the full report online.