Starting on March 1, the Walt Disney Company will require employees to report to the office four days a week, a relatively strict policy among large companies.
Robert A. Iger, who came out of retirement in November to retake Disney’s chief executive reins, said in a memo to employees on Monday that a return to mostly in-person work — for the first time in nearly three years — would benefit the company’s culture in general and movie and TV creative processes in particular. Since his return, Mr. Iger has been trying to boost morale and galvanize Disney’s creative engines.
“As you’ve heard me say many times, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney,” Mr. Iger said in the memo, which was viewed by The New York Times. “And in a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe and create with peers that comes from being physically together.”
The memo said that employees would likely be asked to work from Disney offices Monday through Thursday. “Stay tuned for additional details,” Mr. Iger said. The shift did not come as a complete surprise to Disney employees; Mr. Iger signaled that a change was coming during a Nov. 28 town-hall meeting. CNBC earlier reported on Mr. Iger’s memo on Monday.
Disney employees have been required to work on-site three days a week for the past couple of years, in line with most major media companies. NBCUniversal has a three-days-a-week policy (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), while Warner Bros. Discovery requires three days between Monday and Thursday.
Mr. Iger’s return-to-work edict was accompanied by praise for a wide array of Disney divisions, including Broadway productions and Imagineering, the company’s theme park design unit. Bob Chapek, who was chief executive from 2020 until he was fired in November, sometimes left certain groups in the company feeling overlooked or underappreciated.
“I would be remiss not to mention how the ESPN team expertly handled Damar Hamlin’s tragic injury, showing grace under pressure, and presenting the facts to viewers with utter respect and sensitivity,” Mr. Iger said in the memo, referring to the Buffalo Bills player who collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on “Monday Night Football” on Jan. 2.
Mr. Iger is also working on a sweeping restructuring involving the flow of content to Disney’s streaming services. He has also signaled that cost cutting lies ahead, including potential layoffs.