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AT&T To Mandate Managers' Return To Office, Consolidate Real Estate


AT&T, America’s largest telecommunications company, is consolidating its office space into nine locations and will require some 60,000 managers to come back to the office.

The company will require managers to come into the office at least three days per week, CEO John Stankey said in a Bloomberg Radio interview this week

Affected employees will be required to return to the office beginning in July in Dallas and Atlanta, where AT&T has major hubs, and by Sept. 4 in Los Angeles, Seattle, St. Louis, San Ramon, California, and Middletown and Bedminster, New Jersey. Eighty-five percent of the company’s employees live near one of these offices, and the remaining 15% will have to decide whether to move using the company’s relocation services, Bloomberg reported.

The interview did not include an estimation of how much office space would be maintained versus vacated.

Stankey expects his company to have 15,000 fewer employees this year than last, as AT&T progresses with its $6B cost-cutting program that began in 2020, the same year Stankey took over as CEO. The company completed the disposition of Warner Bros. and HBO last year in a reversal of the push into entertainment led by Stankey.

Like many companies, AT&T has been gradually reducing its footprint for months, including in cities where it expects to maintain an office presence, like San Ramon. In January, AT&T put 260K SF of office on the market for sublease, adding to the 330K SF it vacated in 2020.

Three years after the beginning of the remote work movement, several major U.S. companies are mandating their workers come back to the office, bolstering the hopes of office brokers and downtown advocates in major cities. JP Morgan’s April announcement that managing directors must be in the office every weekday has been widely cited as a sign that in-office work will make a comeback.

Actual office usage has yet to reflect such a shift, however. The latest data from Kastle Systems, for the week of May 4 through May 10, shows office usage in the 10 largest metro areas averaged 49.3%, a week-over-week decline for all the cities monitored except New York City.