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Wayfair CEO’s holiday message to employees: Work harder

Wayfair’s chief executive sent a bracing year-end message to the furniture chain’s more than 14,000 employees: Work more.

He emphasized that the company is “back to winning” as its market share grows and the company earns profits. In light of this success, CEO Niraj Shah encouraged employees to work such long hours that “work and life” become one, according to an internal memo first obtained by Business Insider

“Working long hours, being responsive, blending work and life, is not anything to shy away from,” Shah wrote, according to the report. “There is not a lot of history of laziness being rewarded with success.”

A Wayfair spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the memo.

“We are incredibly proud of our world-class team and culture of open communication. In his note, which was sent to our salaried corporate employees, Niraj was reinforcing some of the values that have contributed to Wayfair’s success, including questioning the status quo, being cost-efficient and working hard together to drive results,” Wayfair said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

Wayfair saw a pandemic-era boost in online sales, but its revenue slowed in 2022 when shoppers returned to physical stores and shifted their spending to other products and services. Last year, the company shed 5% of its workforce. It has since returned to profitability, with Shah noting that repeat customers increased over the course of 2023.

Shah added that he wants employees to spend company money as if it were their own and to always negotiate lower costs when possible. 

Would you spend money on that, would you spend that much money for that thing, does that price seem reasonable, and lastly — have you negotiated the price? Everything is negotiable and so if you haven’t then you should start there,” he wrote. 

Some critics took issue with Shah’s message. 

“Hey CEOS: When people don’t want to work long hours, it doesn’t mean they’re lazy. It means they have lives beyond work,” Adam Grant, a professor of organizational psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, wrote on Instagram.

“A team delivering 40 hours of excellence is wroth more than one offering 50 of mediocrity,” he added.

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