A significant chunk of Fox Corp.’s employee base is likely to work from home for the rest of 2020 to keep the coronavirus from spreading among staffers, the company’s chief executive revealed in a memo.
“In the near-term, we want to maintain a low density in our offices for those employees whose jobs do require them to be on site,” said Lachlan Murdoch, in the note. “We also want to provide additional clarity to everyone, allowing you to plan for your own childcare, eldercare and other personal considerations. While the needs of each business will vary over the next five months, we currently expect that those non-production employees who have been working remotely will continue to do so for the remainder of the calendar year.”
Other media companies have signaled similar moves in recent weeks, with WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS among those entities suggesting the bulk of their employee base will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
Murdoch suggested some of the changes in the ways employees have been deployed could become permanent. “We have innovated new ways to interact and partner in a virtual environment,” he said. ” Learnings from the past several months will influence our long-term thinking about how we operate and the flexibility we can offer. We are evaluating several longer-term work arrangements and will have more to share as our plans progress.”
But he indicated the remote work arrangements would not keep Fox from attempting to get as many of its projects back into production as possible. Fox News Channel has continued to air original programming, while Fox Sports has managed to get Nascar and Major League Baseball into production in keeping with the sports leagues.
“While we understand the desire to return to our pre-coronavirus ‘normal,’ and see our friends and colleagues in person, our approach to fully reopening facilities is guided by your health and safety. The rising rates of positive cases in areas where we have a significant presence coupled with evolving restrictions and best practices around the country are impacting and postponing our planned companywide return to work efforts this fall,” Murdoch said. ” We are nonetheless hopeful that production activities will increase substantially in the coming weeks and that more of our colleagues will be back on site and engaged in delivering world class news, sports and entertainment content for our audiences.”
Fox will continue to pay medical insurance premiums for its employees through the end of the year, Murdoch said. Previously, Fox said it would pay premiums through September.