Young diverse office workers converse at their desks.

Redfin closes the door on fully remote work 

CEO Glenn Kelman said working from home isn’t working out for Redfin, which will require HQ employees to spend at least two days a week in the office.

April 24, 2023
2 minutes

Key points:

  • Kelman said embracing in-office work is “necessary to our culture.”
  • The in-office requirement was not added to push people out, but to help them thrive, Kelman said.
  • Zillow continues to embrace its “Cloud HQ” approach, which allows employees to work from anywhere.

Redfin has become the latest tech company to step away from fully remote work, with CEO Glenn Kelman calling the change "necessary to our culture."

Kelman announced Monday that employees who live within 20 miles of the Seattle, San Francisco and Frisco, Colorado, offices will be required to work in the office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning Tuesday, July 11.

"It has become clearer over the past year that the culture we've developed around remote work has been at best good, not great," Kelman said. "As teams have changed, we haven't been able to draw as much from our pre-pandemic relationships; it has been harder to form new relationships with people we see only in virtual meetings."

Kelman noted in his email that people connect better face-to-face. Not only is that important from a mentor standpoint, but socially, with adults tending to form friendships at work, he added.

"Every day is mostly painless, but less satisfying," Kelman said. "I still work from home on days when I need to crank stuff out, but that isn't the only kind of work each of us does, even the loneliest engineer or designer. We have obligations to one another, on our own teams and beyond."

Kelman also made clear that this move was not meant to push people to quit.

"After all the layoffs we've been through, the people still here are the best of the best," he said. "We want you to stay and to put a bit of yourself into the culture we're building anew; we want you to thrive."

Zillow remains committed to "Cloud HQ"

Zillow CEO Rich Barton recently doubled down on that company's "Cloud HQ," approach, which allows its 5,000-plus employees to work from anywhere.

"When you give people something they value, you can't stuff the genie back in the bottle," Barton told Geekwire.

And yet more tech CEOs are trying to do just that. "And I'm just sitting back and going, they just don't get it," he said.

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