HP has joined Best Buy and Yahoo! in an attempt to turn back the clock on remote working. Like the other two wounded, flailing giants, HP undoubtedly yearn for the late 90s, when they all were flying high. But reenacting the work principles of decades past is not likely to make mana rain from the sky again.

Neither is the hilarious corporate doublespeak that’s being enlisted to make the case. Here’s a choice bit on just how important employees are to the Vapid Corporate Slogan of The Day.. uhm, I mean HP Way Now:

Belief in the power of our people is a core principle of the HP Way Now. Employees are at the center of what we do, we achieve competitive advantages through our people. HP has amazing employees who are driving great change.

So we have great people, but we can’t trust them to get anything done unless we see butts in seats from 9-5? Who cares whether all these great people have designed a lifestyle around not having to commute long hours or live in a given city. That’s all acceptable collateral damage in the “all hands on deck” playbook for sinking companies.

Here’s a few thoughts: Perhaps HP isn’t sinking because Jane works from home, avoids the commute, and has more time to spend on hobbies and family? Perhaps HP is sinking because of strategic and managerial mismanagement? Perhaps morale won’t actually improve until the beatings stop?

It’s sad when you see once-great companies reduced to this smoldering mess of mistrust and cargo culting. But hey, at least we know now the pitch of the whistle that says its time to abandon ship. It’s “all hands on deck”.