Return-to-Office Plans: When Companies Are Planning to Go Back
And whether they're requiring vaccinations
By Tom Acitelli January 12, 2022 8:35 amreprints
There is no real return-to-office date anymore, what with delta and now omicron upending things in the U.S. (which, even before either strain of the novel coronavirus really hit, was having trouble bringing workers back). There are tentative plans, however.
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 Tom Acitelli at firstname.lastname@example.org. This list will be updated regularly.
Aetna is adopting a hybrid approach that will see office-based employees coming in two or three days a week. Some higher-ups have been working this way since November, and the policy is slated to go company-wide Jan. 10. CVS Health-owned Aetna is also requiring that returning employees be vaccinated.
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 (AMZN) 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.
Apple (AAPL) in mid-December pushed back its return to office to “a date yet to be determined,” according to a memo to employees from CEO Tim Cook first reported by Bloomberg. The tech giant had before aimed for a Feb. 1 return. Its offices are open for those who want to come in. Apple is encouraging employees to get vaccinated.
Asana workers in San Francisco and New York are not expected back in the office until Feb. 1, 2022, at the earliest. The software company wants its office workers vaccinated, too.
Bank of America (BAC) began bringing employees back to the office after Labor Day, and is encouraging employees to be vaccinated.
Boies Schiller Flexner returned to the office using in early October using a hybrid model, and has required its attorneys and staff be vaccinated. The mandate also applies to any vendors entering the law firm’s 10 offices.
BlackRock wanted 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.
Blackstone (BX) brought most of its employees back in June under a hybrid model.
Capital One (COF) in early October announced in a memo that it would not be meeting a return-to-office deadline of Nov. 2 due to the unpredictability of the pandemic. The financial firm said in the same memo that “a decision was also made not to attempt to forecast a specific date for a full-scale reopening of U.S. offices,” essentially delaying any reopening past New Year’s. Workers will be given 30 days’ notice before any return in 2022. Capital One had required any returning workers to be fully 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 (C) employees in the New York area as well as in Chicago, Boston, D.C. and Philadelphia were expected back at least two days a week starting in mid-September. The company is also requiring those workers get vaccinated. In mid-December, though, the company told employees they could work remotely through the holidays due to surges in coronavirus cases, according to the New York Post.
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.
CNN told staff on Jan. 1 that its offices were closed for the foreseeable future except to “those who absolutely need to be there.”
CVS Health adopting a hybrid approach that will see office-based employees coming in two or three days a week. Some higher-ups have been working this way since November, and the policy is slated to go company-wide Jan. 10. CVS is also requiring that returning employees — as well as its pharmacists — be vaccinated
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.
Discovery, parent of such networks as HGTV, TLC, the Food Network and Animal Planet, reopened its U.S. offices Sept. 7, and on Oct. 4 launched a hybrid model that has workers coming in thee days a week.
Facebook is allowing those who can do their jobs remotely to do so permanently with management approval, and does not plan to require any employees to come to the office until March 28. It is requiring that workers be vaccinated — and prove they’ve had a COVID booster shot too — unless they can prove an exemption.
Ford Motor announced in early December that tens of thousands of office-based workers would start going in under a hybrid model in March. Employees will work with supervisors to determine schedules.
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. Eligible workers also have to have a COVID booster shot by Feb. 1. The bank, too, at the start of 2022, asked those employees who could to work from home until Jan. 18 due to the omicron surge.
Google (GOOGL) has pushed any decision about a return to office past Jan. 10. When any return does come, it will be on the hybrid model; and workers will likely have 30 days to transition into it.
Hugo Boss corporate employees are expected back in the office three days a week starting Aug. 30, and masks are optional.
IBM employees could return to the office beginning Sept. 7, though the company has left the door open for more remote work.
Jeffries Financial Group plans an Oct. 4 return to office.
John Hancock‘s parent, Manulife Financial Corp., canceled a Jan. 24 return to office. It has yet to reschedule, but top Manulife executives said in an email that the company would give employees 30 days’ notice of a new return date.
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. JPMorgan at the start of 2022 also gave workers the option of working remotely for a couple of weeks — with the stipulation that they be back in the office by Feb. 1.
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 began bringing its office-based U.S. workers back to the office in the fall on a hybrid schedule that sees them in the workplace at least two days a week. 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 (MS) 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 started bringing workers back Oct. 15.
The New York Times Company 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.
Robinhood announced on Jan. 12 that it would allow most of its 3,400 employees to work remotely permanently.
Salesforce 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 wants workers fully vaccinated by Feb. 9, or to submit to weekly testing afterward.
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.
Twitter is allowing employees who can do their jobs remotely to continue to work from anywhere, and is requiring a proof of vaccination for those coming into the office.
Uber has delayed indefinitely into 2022 any return to the office. The app-hail giant had once expected to transition to a hybrid model starting Jan. 10. Also, Uber had previously required returning employees be fully vaccinated.
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 called back its corporate employees “on a more regular basis” starting the week of Nov. 8, according to a memo obtained by CNBC. All of its office workers and management-level employees must be vaccinated by November.
Wells Fargo (WFC)’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.”