Dropbox will lay off 315 employees, or approximately 11% of its workforce, in an effort to streamline its team structure and focus on top priorities. In a regulatory filing, the cloud-based file sharing company also disclosed that COO Olivia Nottebohm is stepping down on February 5.
Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said in an employee memo included in the SEC filing that the layoffs were necessary in order for the company to focus on key initiatives, which include improving the core Dropbox experience and investing in new products for distributed teams.
"Last spring I made a commitment to all of you to preserve job security through 2020, and it was important to me that we honored that promise," Houston said in the memo. "But looking ahead at 2021 and beyond, it's clear that we need to make changes in order to create a healthy and thriving business for the future. Over the past year, we've talked a lot about the importance of running a tight ship and getting the company ready for the next stage of growth. This will require relentless focus on initiatives that align tightly with our strategic priorities, and having the discipline to pull back from those that don't. Unfortunately, this means that we're reducing the size of some of our teams."
In October Dropbox announced that it would make remote work the day-to-day default for employees even once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Called "Virtual First", the effort aims to transform the company's offices into "Dropbox Studios", where workers meet up with colleagues for better collaboration and community building. Dropbox also encouraged workers to draw their own work schedules beyond the core collaboration hours defined by the company, in an effort to push flexible working.
"The steps we're taking today are painful, but necessary. Our recent decisions regarding our new leadership structure and remote work policy have set us on the right path, and now we need to make sure our teams and investments also line up. For example, our Virtual First policy means we require fewer resources to support our in-office environment, so we're scaling back that investment and redeploying those resources to drive our ambitious product roadmap," Houston said.