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With 90% COVID-19 vax rate, Intel to step up return-to-office

In memo seen by The Register, chip giant seems to be striving for championship yoga-levels of flexibility

Intel is going to tell more of its staff to return to their campus desks after many have been working from home or working in the office occasionally, judging by an internal memo sent to employees on Tuesday.

In the email, seen by The Register, Intel Chief People Officer Christy Pambianchi said the chipmaker feels it's safe to bring more employees back to its various locations at this stage of the coronavirus pandemic due to "a high level of community immunity and a 90 percent vaccination rate among our employees." The message from on high did not contain specific requirements, and instead simply signals that teams will be coming in more, though how often that will be, and which units and when, will depend upon where you are and what you're doing.

In her memo and a corresponding LinkedIn post shared yesterday, Pambianchi insisted the x86 giant is "embracing flexibility" with a work policy that takes into account various factors, and framed it as "the future of work."

"While we can't predict the future, we know for certain that there is no-one-size-fits-all when it comes to working at Intel," she wrote in the memo. "Our approach to flexibility will account for the specific needs of different business units, teams, employees and geographies, and the different work we do throughout the year."

An Intel spokesman told us the company had no further comment.

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While some employees have already been back on campus, Pambianchi said workers who have been working remotely or working in the office occasionally should discuss with their teams "what flexibility means for your role — and consider how to effectively manage your work on and off-site."

"With our ambitious goals for the future, some teams will be expected on-site more regularly," she added. "We will all work together to identify opportunities for in-person, meaningful collaboration."

Pambianchi said the company will share more details on the company's expectations for this year in forums with employees next week.

It's important to remember that a good number of Intel employees have not had the ability to work from home during the pandemic because they work within the company's manufacturing plants or otherwise serve in roles that require a physical presence. But with Intel employing 121,100 people across the world, according to a disclosure this week, there are plenty of Intel employees in various non-manufacturing roles who have been able to do their jobs remotely.

The goal of the policy, according to Pambianchi, is to "build a better workplace for everyone."

"2022 is a year to gradually transition and find balance, giving you time to make arrangements to support family members and generally figure out what routine works best," she wrote.

The update comes after Intel announced a "hybrid-first" policy last fall and said 90 percent of the company's employees favored a "hybrid" approach when offices reopen, where they split time between working at home and working in the office, based on a survey the company did in April 2021.

At the time, Intel said it was supporting a "small number of employees" who were working from home full-time. ®

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