Hundreds of workers at the personal styling service Stitch Fix have quit their jobs after incoming CEO Elizabeth Spaulding announced earlier this month that employees would no longer be allowed to work any hours they choose, according to interviews with half a dozen former and current employees. BuzzFeed News reports: The changes to the company’s scheduling policies led to an exodus of around a third of its stylists, part- and full-time employees who work from home selecting clothing items for customers. “It was a gut punch,” said Kara Calagera, who used the extra income from Stitch Fix to pay her mortgage and car insurance. Keeping the job “wasn’t feasible without the flexibility.” For years, Stitch Fix has attracted employees who — because they have part-time jobs, stay home with kids, or have a disability — needed flexible, remote work. Until now, the company allowed employees who could provide their own computer and internet to work from home, some for as little as five hours per week, recommending and sending Stitch Fix clothing to customers at any time of day.
But in an email sent to staff earlier this month, the company informed stylists that employees would now be required to work at least 20 hours per week on a set schedule during regular business hours; their log-on and log-off times would be tracked, and stylists would at least temporarily no longer be allowed to become full-time employees. Those who couldn’t work within the new rules were offered a $1,000 bonus to quit, provided they agreed to sign a nondisclosure agreement that promised, among other things, they would not sue the company. Some employees, citing the company’s expanding use of computer-generated clothing recommendations, said that the recent workforce reductions made them feel like their jobs have shifted from styling clients to training an algorithm that will replace them.
Stitch Fix acknowledged that recent changes were inconvenient for some staffers but said the shift would help the company expand the variety of “styling services” it offers. “Our Stylists are instrumental in building relationships with clients and creating the highly personalized experience Stitch Fix is known for,” a spokesperson said via email. But employees across the company are working together to track how many have quit since the August 2 announcement, connecting on social media and sharing internal staffing numbers in each region: a tally from earlier this week found that around 1,500 stylists had left following the policy change.
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