As vaccinations rise and COVID-19 cases slowly decrease, the Walt Disney Co. is gradually bringing workers back with a phased reopening of its U.S. offices after the July 4 weekend, a source tells Variety.
Staffers were informed of the news via an internal video memo; only a fraction of the company’s employees will return to the office at first.
Disney is the latest media conglomerate to lay out its plans for a return to professional normalcy after a year of largely working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, though the new normal will look quite different for most.
ViacomCBS is also looking to have workers return to the office after Independence Day. About 80% of its 20,000 employees will ultimately work in a hybrid, part-remote environment, which aims to allow workers more flexibility as well as reduce the company’s real estate footprint.
And not every company is reopening by July.
Fox Corp, the parent company of Fox News, Fox Sports, and Fox Entertainment, this week told staff it would defer its reopening date to “no earlier than Sept. 7,” after initially saying it would not open earlier than April of this year.
As Variety reported in this week’s cover story, dozens of Hollywood execs predict that entertainment industry players will be returning to a very different workplace than the one they left. ICM Partners, for instance, is spacing out the desks in its open office area, cutting capacity by half and dividing each workstation with plexiglass. Other offices are also asking employees to do self-reported temperature checks and are plotting a mix of shared desks, distanced workstations, and even one-directional hallways, to prevent workers from passing each other in the halls and potentially contaminating the air.
Deadline first reported news of the Walt Disney memo.