March 4, 2024

Apparently all the extremely hardcore executive memos in the world won’t save your staff’s jobs. Wayfair announced Friday that it’s laying off 1,650 staffers, or about 13% off the company. The cuts establish an annual post-holiday tradition: The online furniture retailer carried out similar slashes last January, dropping 1,750 people (or about 10% at the time).

In other retail job cuts, Macy’s is laying off 2,350 workers, or about 3.5% of its staff, and closing five stores.

Wayfair has carried out a number of large layoff rounds in recent years, with executives pointing to how shoppers have scaled back their home purchases since pandemic-era highs. The company had gone “overboard in hiring” during its strong sales run, CEO Niraj Shah wrote to staffers in an email Friday.

The layoffs also come on the heels of a leaked December memo from Shah, in which he made a radical proposition: Work-life balance? We don’t do that around here!

“Working long hours, being responsive, blending work and life is not anything to shy away from,” he wrote in the memo, adding that there isn’t “a lot of history of laziness being rewarded with success.” Shah also went on to scold employees for what he called inaccurate “Niraj-isms,” or phrases attributed to him — including the preposterous idea that he didn’t want employees working while off the clock.

“The one I would reference here that I heard was ‘Niraj said that he does not think that we should work late,’” he wrote. “I would suggest that this is laughably false.”

Shah might benefit from recalling that, historically, telling your staff to get more hardcore doesn’t exactly incentivize them to work with you for much longer. Perhaps he’ll keep it in mind as he meets with his remaining employees.

“I think our best year is right in front of us,” he wrote in his email announcing the layoffs. “We will get together next week as a team to talk more about these changes and the road ahead.”

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