worker speaking (l) rush hour traffic cars lined up (c) worker speaking (r)

Thanakorn Hongphan/Shutterstock @melvcookie/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Could never do a 5-day commute again’: Company is making WFH workers who live ‘within 50 miles of the office’ return to office

‘If the work is getting done, what difference does it make?’


Phil West


The debate about whether workers should return to the office vs. remaining remote rages on more than three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And one popular TikToker advocating for workers is alleging that a big insurance company is insisting on workers returning to their office if they live within 50 miles of the office.

The video comes from creator KT (@melvcookie), who has nearly 50,000 followers. It garnered more than 136,000 views since it went up on TikTok on May 31. Though it’s light on specifics, the creator alleges “a major insurance company” recently notified employees they must return back to the office.

“There’s a major insurance company that recently came out and said to all of their employees, and this is a big one, guys, a really big company,” KT said. “They said that if you live within 50 miles of the office, it’s time to go back in and the employees are pissed off.”

@melvcookie #returntooffice #remote #work ♬ original sound – KT

Though she didn’t include the company’s name, several commenters suggested it was Liberty Mutual Insurance, though one claimed that it might have been MetLife instead of (or perhaps in addition to) Liberty Mutual.

A Daily Beast article from June 6 detailed a recent controversy stemming from a new CEO at Farmers Insurance, Raul Vargas, reversing the company’s remote worker policy despite protests. Compared to other countries, U.S. workers have been returning to in-person work at a slower pace mainly due to the appeal of working from home, commuting issues, and the unique leverage workers possess in the labor market, according to CNBC.

KT continued in the video, “A lot of these people were hired as remote. Other people just became so used to working from home that they’re like, ‘I don’t want to go back.’ It’s just really great to see such a big group of people come together and say, ‘Absolutely not. Get with the times, guys.”

TikTok viewers debated the decision to return to in-person work.

“If the work is getting done, what difference does it make?” one person said. “I love working from home and could never do a 5-day commute again.”

Another person countered, “Welcome to the real world where employees report to an office.”

But not everyone believes that’s an essential element of the real world anymore.

“I get 10x more work done at home,” a commenter said. “When people talk about how WFH is all slacking off, they clearly don’t work claims.”

One person asserted that the work-from-home option is more appealing to workers.

“My old job did this,” a commenter mentioned. “70% of my [department] left for a [work-from-home] job plus more pay for every single one. They lost their best employees, got stuck with the worst.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to KT via TikTok comment, Farmers Insurance via a media relations website form, and a Liberty Mutual media relations representative via email.

The Daily Dot