Lyft joins ‘back to office’ chorus

New CEO cuts jobs, calls for remaining staff to return to workplace

Lyft joins ‘back to office’ chorus

Hot on the news of major job cuts coming, Lyft, the popular ride-hailing company, has announced that its employees will be required to come back into the office for at least three days a week starting this fall.

The decision was made by the new CEO, David Risher, who believes that face-to-face interaction leads to faster and better work. He also cited the negative effects of remote work, such as isolation and a decline in company culture.

This change is a big departure from the company's previous policy, which allowed employees to work remotely during the pandemic. Last year, Lyft made the policy official by announcing that work would be "fully flexible" and subleasing floors of its offices in San Francisco and elsewhere.

The decision to require in-office work comes on the heels of a major restructuring at Lyft. Just a day before the announcement, the company laid off 26% of its workforce, including hundreds of employees who had been working remotely. The layoffs and other changes signal a new chapter for Lyft as it seeks to navigate the challenges of the post-pandemic world.

The move also reflects a broader trend among tech companies, particularly those that are struggling financially. Some companies, such as Disney and Apple, have already started to nudge employees back into the office, and Lyft's decision could be a sign that more firms will follow suit. However, it remains to be seen how employees will react to the new policy, especially given the challenges of commuting and concerns about the ongoing pandemic.

This year fellow tech giants Google, Tesla, Twitter and Amazon are also requiring attendance at the office.

“When you’re in-person, people tend to be more engaged, observant, and attuned to what’s happening in the meetings and the cultural clues being communicated,” said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to employees in an internal blog. Desk-based workers will have to return to the office at least three days a week from May 1 this year.

Return to office already happening

After almost two years of employees working from home due to the pandemic, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report last month indicating that remote work is becoming less common. The survey was conducted from August to September 2022 and it revealed that only 27.5% of private-sector establishments, or 2.5 million businesses, had employees teleworking some or all the time, compared to the 60.1% reported from July to September 2021. The report further showed that 72.5% of business establishments reported that their employees rarely or never teleworked in 2022, a notable increase from the previous year's 60.1%.

According to the Labor Department, remote work rates in the information services sector were the highest at 67.4%, while professional and business services followed with 49%, and education and wholesale trade had 46% and 39%, respectively. The survey also disclosed that approximately 21 million more workers were on-site full-time in 2022 than in the prior year.

The current trend is a significant shift from the height of the pandemic, when millions of Americans moved from their offices and workplaces to their homes to work remotely. Remarkably, the Labor Department's findings showed that the current figure is close to the percentage of establishments, 76.7%, that had no remote workers before the pandemic hit and were open in February 2020.

Despite the reduction in remote work, it's interesting to note that 95.1% of private-sector establishments expect telework levels to remain the same for the next six months. However, with the increase in vaccinations and the drop in COVID-19 cases, companies are beginning to transition back to on-site work, marking the end of the remote work era for many.

Recent articles & video

Should CEOs denounce political violence?

Amazon Prime Day 'major cause of injury' for warehouse staff: report

US reports new cases of bird flu with poultry workers

PwC reportedly pulling back on benefits, salary increases

Most Read Articles

SHRM removes ‘equity’ from DEI program ‘to address flaws’

Sack the weak?

Engineer fired for objecting to DEI training: reports