Lyft has reversed course on remote work, mandating that employees return to the office at least three days a week.
Lyft and its employees have had a rough couple of weeks, with the company announcing a round of layoffs on top of the layoffs conducted in November. Now employees are in for more bad news, with The New York Times reporting the company will require employees in-office at least three days a week.
Like many companies, Lyft transitioned to remote work during the pandemic, making it official company policy in March 2022. CEO David Risher informed employees at an all-hands meeting Friday.
“Things just move faster when you’re face-to-face,” Risher said in an interview. He blamed remote work for eroding corporate culture in the tech industry, as well as leading to employee isolation. “There’s a real feeling of satisfaction that comes from working together at a whiteboard on a problem.”
Not everyone is convinced that’s the whole reason, however. Bob Sutton, Stanford professor, and organizational psychologist, told The Times that much of the motivation could also stem from the financial issues Lyft is experiencing.
“When top executives feel financial stress, the classic ‘threat-rigidity’ effect kicks in, and beyond possible benefits for communication, collaboration and creativity, they feel compelled to increase their own illusion of control,” Sutton said.
The decision to mandate a return to the office could backfire. Employees have grown accustomed to remote work, and layoffs often erode employee confidence and loyalty in a company. Forcing employees to come back to the office may end up driving even more out the door.