COMP NEWS – Lyft’s new CEO is aiming to bring the company’s employees back into the office, a risky move in light of overwhelming sentiment that RTO policies are unpopular.

Four months ago, David Risher became CEO of ride-sharing giant Lyft at a crucial juncture. He was, as the Wall Street Journal put it, up against “eroding market share, a sliding stock price, and low employee morale.” In his second week as CEO, Risher initiated over 1,000 layoffs, more than a quarter of its workforce—a move that aimed to address the first two concerns, but hardly improved the last one. 

One thing he thinks might move the needle on employee morale, however, is a partial return to the office, which he said would become mandatory for the workers who remained.

This hasn’t always been Lyft’s approach. In March 2022, the company announced it was becoming a “fully flexible workplace,” and would lease out nearly half its office space to other businesses. This was back when cofounder Logan Green was still at the helm; he spent 11 years as CEO before handing the reins to Risher. Now, Risher has initiated a reversal, and, like many other tech giants, he’s pegging Labor Day weekend as the deadline. 

Risher told Fortune that September will be “official return-to-office time” for Lyft employees. “It’s going to be super fun, I hope,” he said. “We’re looking at three days a week being the mandatory rhythm, and then two days a week, you can either work remotely or work from the office.”

As CEO, Risher intends to lead by example, working primarily from the office. “Sometimes I’ll work from home—that’s cool, too,” he added. “Obviously I do some traveling and so forth, but when I’m in town, I’m mostly in the office.”

Risher isn’t totally inflexible, he claims. He’s open to flexible hours, which are one of the most popular benefits available to workers.

Just because he insists upon in-person work doesn’t mean he’s intransigent. Risher said he’s amenable to flexible hours, which are hugely popular among workers. “If you want to come in at six o’clock, that’s fine. Or if you want to come in at nine o’clock, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock in the morning, that’s fine. We don’t really care about any of that stuff. We’re just much more excited about the idea of periodically and regularly bringing people together.”

Risher is especially serious about new workforce entrants and young employees gathering in-person regularly. “When people first come in, we’re literally calling it homecoming,” he said, adding that he hopes to re-create the feeling of the first day at a new school. “We’re going to give tours and have community groups [like book clubs] where people can get together and talk about things that have nothing to do with work.” These kinds of programs will, ideally, provide a “sense of community to work beyond just the basics of a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor.”

As for whether it’s successful, Risher will have to wait and see how full Lyft’s offices are come September.

To read more about Lyft’s return to office plans, click here.

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