Top Uber execs are discussing easing up on return-to-office plans after backlash


Uber is discussing changing its policies requiring employees to come to the office most days of the week. Consideration of the update, which could be announced in coming weeks, comes only a few months after the company announced its post-pandemic workplace plans.

While top executives at Uber are considering several options, one that’s being discussed would allow a few members from each team to be fully remote, according to two people familiar with the matter. These people said this solution could be contentious internally, and it’s unclear what Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will ultimately decide. The people spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about private deliberations. 

Uber is the latest tech company reckoning with employees pushing back on in-person work requirements. Startups smaller than giants like Facebook and Google have had to relax their policies this year in the wake of employee complaints, including some who threatened to quit.

As companies become more flexible, this puts pressure on other companies to follow suit. Meanwhile, the tech market remains competitive for engineering talent, with many feeling they can find another job if their current one requires them to come into work when they’d prefer not to, multiple industry executives have said.

Earlier this year, Uber Chief People Officer Nikki Krishnamurthy publicly staked out the company’s position that employees were expected to be in the office three days a week starting in September. That was in line with other large tech companies’ policies at the time, including Apple and Google. Krishnamurthy wrote that the position reflected what employees expressed in surveys, saying two-thirds of them preferred a hybrid work approach. But she also said working in person helped the company “stay connected to the places we serve.”

The policy has become a frequent topic of discussion at company all-hands meetings, according to one employee. And it’s spilled onto apps like Blind, where some employees call the requirement “dumb,” given how distributed the teams are at Uber.

It’s a particularly acute issue for Uber, one of San Francisco’s largest employers, which relocated its headquarters from downtown to a sparkling new facility in Mission Bay. The campus, which has enough space for 5,000 employees, opened to 20% capacity earlier this spring. The new setup offers views of the San Francisco Bay and has perks like a barista, free lunches, and a large outdoor space, according to one employee who’s worked from the new office.


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