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Bob Iger Tells Disney Workers To Return To Office 4 Days A Week

The Walt Disney Co.'s CEO says the company's creativity will improve if workers are in the office four days a week.

The Walt Disney Co. has joined the growing number of businesses tightening return-to-work policies, with the company’s CEO informing workers they will soon be expected in the workplace four days a week.

Bob Iger, the longtime Disney leader who retired in 2020 only to make a surprise return as CEO two months ago, said in a companywide memo that the new policy will apply to any hybrid workers starting in March this year, CNBC reports. Mondays through Thursdays will be considered in-person days.

"Nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together, nor the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors,” Iger wrote in the memo. "It is my belief that working together more in-person will benefit the company's creativity, culture, and our employees' careers.”

There has been growing consensus that 2023 will bring stricter return-to-office arrangements, with several major companies backtracking from previously flexible arrangements for workers.

Salesforce, Snap, Twitter and Comcast — all firms that had allowed remote work — moved to reverse course late last year and began telling some employees to return to in-person work more days of the week.

Major office hubs like New York City and San Francisco have nevertheless seen tepid worker activity, with the average office building occupancy across the 10 largest markets not cracking 50% of pre-pandemic levels at any point last year, according to Kastle Systems data.

Still, with a tougher economic climate and rounds of layoffs taking place at large tech firms, many have predicted workers will start opting to go to the office of their own accord.

“I think a lot of it depends on earnings and how companies are doing, especially with a looming recession," Julie Whelan, CBRE's head of occupier research for the Americas, told Bisnow last month. "And that's when you'll start to see companies maybe change stance, if they feel that their performance is faltering and that it has something to do with folks that are not coming into the office.”

It isn't yet clear, however, how stricter return-to-office policies will play out with workers. More than a quarter of people who left jobs in the last year did so because their company didn't offer flexibility around hybrid work arrangements or working hours, according to tenant platform Equiem's annual report released last month.