Enlarge / IBM's deadline for remote employees to decide if they're willing to relocate to keep their jobs has arrived. (credit: Coolcaesar/Wikimedia)

IBM, one of the earliest companies to embrace the concept of employees working en masse from home or small satellite offices, has informed thousands of employees that it's time to return to the mothership—or find a new job. As The Wall Street Journal reports, this week is the deadline for remote employees—who make up as much as 40 percent of IBM's workforce—to decide whether to move or leave.

IBM once heralded the savings and productivity gains it won from its "Mobility Initiative." The company has also made untold millions over the past two decades selling software and consulting services, such as its Sametime instant messaging and voice products, to companies looking to support far-flung workforces.

Earlier this month, IBM touted research from IBM's Smarter Workforce Institute that found "remote workers... were highly engaged, more likely to consider their workplaces as innovative, happier about their job prospects and less stressed than their more traditional, office-bound colleagues."

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