Earlier this week, Internet Brands, the parent company of WebMD, Fodor’s, Lawyers.com, and CarsDirect, shared an unusual and discomfiting video announcing its plans to formally order workers back to the office—and mocking those who haven’t done so of their own accord.
The internal video was erroneously shared publicly on the company’s Vimeo page, according to Vice’s Maxwell Strachan. Since the Vice write-up, the video garnered some online jeering, and Internet Brands amended the video to include an opening disclaimer.
“Wow, this video has gotten a lot of attention!” it reads. “Our return to office policy is a hybrid one. We’ve been rolling out these hybrid policies for over a year. As to comments/criticism on the tone/style, Yeah corporate videos are corporate videos!” It then included a shrugging emoji.
“Regardless, we strongly believe that we are better together!” the message concludes, before launching into a montage of scenes from Internet Brands’ office in California—one of the most remote-work-friendly states.
WebMD’s video runs about two minutes and features a smattering of Internet Brands senior executives—most prominently longtime CEO Bob Brisco—rattling off the benefits of in-person work and admonishing the company holdouts. “We aren’t asking or negotiating at this point,” Brisco said. “We are informing you of how we need to work together going forward.”
The video features, at one point, a stock image of a man ostensibly working at his laptop in his kitchen wearing a collared shirt and, out of view, boxers.
Toward the end of the video, Lynn Tokeshi, Internet Brands’ senior vice president of HR, tells viewers that their “manager will be in touch shortly about how this will be implemented and tracked.”
While many workers have returned to the company’s Los Angeles office, “too big of a group hasn’t returned,” Blake DeSimone, WebMD’s CFO, said. “We’re getting more serious about getting everyone back into the office for the simple reason that we’re better when we’re together.”
“We need you ready and present, and we need it now,” DeSimone went on. “We have been slow in getting back with some people and in some places. That’s about to change.”
The video concludes with a familiar Google Meet log-in page and a memo saying that no one is on the call because “Everyone is in person now!”
Asked about WebMD’s actual return to office playbook—and how the video is meant to differentiate from its supposedly existing hybrid arrangement—a spokesperson told Fortune only that “the company has had an evolving hybrid strategy in place for more than a year, which will continue in place going forward.”
“Our executive team feels strongly that both our company and our employees are more successful when they can collaborate in person,” the spokesperson said. “The tone of the video was an intentional decision to keep the topic light and somewhat ironic, in the context of knowing very well that the return to office issue can be emotionally charged.”
Across the U.S., workers bristle at being told what to do. Indeed, experts say the best hybrid work plans are the ones that lead with employee sentiment, and focus on each individual worker and team’s preferences, autonomy, and desired balance.
On company review site Blind, WebMD employees likened the Vimeo to a hostage video. “This is like when teachers scolded the class for misbehaving,” one commenter said. “If I worked here and was on the fence about leaving, that video alone would motivate me to start sending out résumés.”
Given the broad unpopularity of return to office mandates that don’t consider employee choice or input, it’s unlikely that WebMD’s workers caught the lightness or the irony.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com