Return-to-Office Plans: When Companies Are Planning to Go Back
And whether they're requiring vaccinations
It’s the grand parlor game of the commercial real estate industry and the wider business world: Which companies are going back to the office and when?
Below is a running tab, in alphabetical order, of companies’ return-to-office plans, or lack thereof, based on information from the firms, previous Commercial Observer reporting, or reporting in other media outlets (linked to where possible). It also includes details, where available, on whether companies are requiring vaccinations and how they plan to enforce that. And “hybrid” in this case is defined as working partly in the office and partly remotely (in most cases two to three days a week).
Have info? Please share with CO Co-Deputy Editor Tom Acitelli at email@example.com. This list will be regularly updated.
Airbnb employees do not have to return to the office until September 2022. And, when that happens, “people aren’t going to be expected to come back to the office five days a week, every week,” according to CEO Brian Chesky.
Amazon announced Oct. 11 that it is leaving it up to individual managers to decide when and if its corporate employees come back to the office, and at what frequency. Those managers are expected to decide by Jan. 3.
American Airlines is managing its corporate workers under what a spokesman describes as “a flexible hybrid model” with management and support staff in the office three days a week. The company is planning a flexible schedule for office-based workers full-time, probably starting in the fall. American is incentivizing vaccinations with time off and extra pay.
American Express is not planning a full return to office until at least Jan. 24, though those who want to come in before can voluntarily. The company is also adopting a hybrid model that will emphasize flexibility.
Bank of America expects the majority of its employees to return to the office after Labor Day. It is encouraging employees to get vaccinated and to inform the bank if they do. Employees in the office have to wear masks, too, unless they’re at their desks.
Boies Schiller Flexner is planning for a return to a hybrid model in early October, and is requiring its attorneys and staff be vaccinated. The mandate also applies to any vendors entering the law firm’s 10 offices.
BlackRock wants more than half of its employees back in the office at least three days a week starting Nov. 1. It plans to test this hybrid model for several months as the asset manager expands it to include more employees.
Capital One plans a return to office on Nov. 2, and the financial company is requiring employees be fully vaccinated before they come back. Working in the office “will be strongly encouraged for vaccinated employees, but not mandatory,” CEO Richard Fairbank said. Contractors and vendors in, and visitors to, Capital One offices will also have to be vaccinated.
Chevron is “monitoring regional case rates for improvement to determine a new return date” for its San Ramon, Calif., headquarters, and is not planning a return to office in Houston, where most of its office-based employees work, until at least October. The oil giant is adopting a hybrid model for when its office workers do return.
Citigroup employees in the New York area as well as in Chicago, Boston, D.C. and Philadelphia are expected back at least two days a week starting Sept. 13. The company is also requiring those workers get vaccinated. Citi is “not bringing more people back at this time” at its other corporate sites, the company said Aug. 10. It is encouraging branch workers to get vaccinated, and is requiring masks of all workers.
Convene is requiring that all of its employees either prove they are fully vaccinated by Oct. 4 or provide a medical or religious exemption. The flex space-slash-meetings-and-events provider is also requiring this of clients and guests who use its physical locations for work or meetings — the first coworking company to do so in the U.S. Those Convene employees who can’t get vaccinated will be allowed to work remotely if their job can be done that way.
Delta Air Lines plans starting Nov. 1 to charge employees an extra $200 a month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan if they choose not get vaccinated. Also, any U.S. employee not fully vaccinated by Sept. 12 will have to take a COVID test each week if case counts in their localities are high.
Facebook is allowing those who can do their jobs remotely to do so permanently, and does not plan to require any employees to come to the office until January. It is requiring that workers be vaccinated unless they can prove an exemption.
Goldman Sachs has been bringing employees back since early June, including on a rotational basis. It has been requiring employees to disclose their vaccination status since then, too, and requiring unvaccinated workers to test weekly and wear masks. In late August, following full Food and Drug Administration approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the bank told employees in a memo that anyone entering its U.S. offices as of Sept. 7 had to be fully vaccinated.
Google pushed back its return to the office date from Oct. 18 until after Jan. 20, 2022, and those employees that do return are expected to be vaccinated unless they can prove an exemption. One-fifth of the company’s employees, though, will continue to work remotely permanently and others will operate on a hybrid model.
Hugo Boss corporate employees are expected back in the office three days a week starting Aug. 30, and masks are optional.
Jeffries Financial Group plans an Oct. 4 return to office.
John Hancock employees can voluntarily return to the office starting Sept. 20, and a fuller return is not expected until January. Most employees will work off a hybrid model after that.
JPMorgan Chase started bringing employees back on a rotational basis in July. It has urged employees to get vaccinated, and, as of mid-August was requiring even vaccinated workers to wear masks in offices and public indoor settings. Employees are required to disclose their vaccination status. Those who aren’t vaccinated can’t attend indoor employee events with 25 people or more, and must be tested for COVID twice weekly.
LinkedIn is embracing both a hybrid model that will allow most of its employees to work remotely most of the time. It has no return to office date.
Lyft’s corporate employees are supposed to be back in the office Feb. 2, 2022, and are expected to be fully vaccinated when they do. Until then, vaccinated employees can work on site if they chose and if they’re masked.
Mastercard currently plans to bring most of its office-based U.S. workers back to the office in September on a hybrid schedule that sees them in the workplace at least two days a week. “As the situation improves, we will move to three or more days a week in the office, allowing for flexibility in work schedules,” the company said. It is encouraging its workers to get vaccinated.
Morningstar’s employees continue to work in the majority remotely with most offices open to those who want to come in. The financial services firm has implemented masking and distancing at these offices, and is encouraging employees to get vaccinated. It plans to operate under a hybrid model come the fall. “However, our plans remain flexible as the pandemic continues,” according to a spokesman.
McDonald’s plans to officially reopen its Chicago headquarters and other U.S. offices on Oct. 11. It’s also requiring its corporate workers in the U.S. to get fully vaccinated by Sept. 27. Workers will still have to wear masks regardless of vaccination status after the return to office, at least in the short-term.
Microsoft on Sept. 9 indefinitely postponed a full office reopening that it had scheduled to start after Oct. 4. The tech giant instead says it will await guidance from public health officials about when to return to the office, and will then give employees 30 days to transition.
Morgan Stanley has been bringing back its office workers all summer, and expects to near pre-pandemic levels after Labor Day. It is barring unvaccinated employees, clients and visitors from its New York City and Westchester County, N.Y., offices. The bank is requiring those who say they’re vaccinated to prove it by Oct. 1.
NBCUniversal is planning to bring most employees back to the office on Oct. 18 at the earliest. It’s also requiring employees to get vaccinated; and currently vaccinated employees can go back to the office voluntarily prior to Oct. 18.
New York City will require all of its municipal employees to return to the office full-time starting on Sept. 13.
The New York Post is bringing workers back Oct. 15. Those who come back before, voluntarily, must wear masks when not at their desks.
The New York Times Company has postponed its return to office indefinitely after an initial post-Labor Day goal. The company is requiring that those who do come in voluntarily produce proof of vaccination.
Nike is planning its return to office for Jan. 10, and is requiring all office workers be fully vaccinated before returning to in-person work.
Oscar, a health insurer, plans to go back to the office in October at the earliest and has said that could change based on COVID statistics.
PwC became in early October the first of the big accounting firms to allow its client services staff — some 40,000 employees — to work remotely permanently. Those who choose to work in a lower-cost area, though, will see their pay decrease.
Related Companies has been bringing back its office-based workers for several months, and, in April, introduced a vaccination mandate for employees, unless they can prove an exemption.
Salesforce is allowing all employees to voluntarily continue to work remotely through Dec. 31. It began reopening U.S. offices in May, with most employees working off a hybrid model. The company is mandating twice-weekly COVID testing and encouraging vaccinations.
Starbucks office workers are remote though December, with a return to planned in January 2022. It is “strongly encouraging” workers to get vaccinated.
State Farm’s employees are mostly operating on a hybrid model, including at the insurer’s hubs in Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix and Bloomington, Ill. (it has also required masks at these hubs since July 30). Elsewhere, some employees are fully remote and some are in the office full-time. State Farm is not “at this time” mandating vaccines but encouraging them.
State Street has adopted a hybrid work model that includes the closure of its Midtown Manhattan offices. The financial services firm plans to sublease that space at 1040 and 1290 Avenue of the Americas and anchor any employees from there in offices in New Jersey and Connecticut. The company is also requiring vaccinations for in-office work.
TJX Companies, parent of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, is bringing office workers back starting Sept. 8, and will hold what it’s called a “more formal reopening” on Nov. 1. TJX is requiring that office workers be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.
United Airlines is “taking a hybrid approach at our corporate offices,” according to a spokesman. The company is requiring every U.S.-based employee get vaccinated by Oct. 25.
UPS is requiring that its office workers by Oct. 1 have at least one shot of a COVID vaccine and a second shot planned, if need be; and is planning to start bringing workers back just after Labor Day.
The Washington Post Company expects its employees back in the office for three days a week starting Sept. 13, and is mandating vaccines.
Walmart has been bringing corporate employees back all summer, and plans to be at near pre-pandemic staffing levels after Labor Day. The company is requiring its office workers and management-level employees be vaccinated by Oct. 4.
Wells Fargo’s return plans will start taking effect Oct. 4, though some teams will continue to work under a hybrid model, including those in non-customer-facing roles. The company has been asking employees about vaccination status since July 19, and, as of mid-August, all employees in the office will have to wear masks.
Yelp plans to reopen its offices later this year and into early 2022, including at its San Francisco headquarters. The company is also pursuing a hybrid model that will mean “we no longer need the same amount of space that we had in the past.”