Bob Iger poses with Mickey Mouse attends Mickey’s 90th Spectacular at The Shrine Auditorium on October 6, 2018 in Los Angeles.
Valerie Macon | AFP | Getty Images
Disney CEO Bob Iger told hybrid employees on Monday they must return to corporate offices four days a week starting March 1, according to an email obtained by CNBC.
In the email, Iger stressed the importance of in-person collaboration.
“As I’ve been meeting with teams throughout the company over the past few months, I’ve been reminded of the tremendous value in being together with the people you work with,” Iger wrote. “As you’ve heard me say many times, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney. 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, nor the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors.”
During the pandemic many companies opted for work-from-home or hybrid work models that kept large gatherings of people, and thus the spread of Covid, to a minimum. As vaccination rates rose and cases and hospitalization rates fell, companies like Disney looked to bring staff back to offices and return to a more normalized pre-pandemic work environment.
Iger’s four-day-per-week stipulation is relatively strict compared with other large companies, which have opted for two or three mandated in-office days for hybrid employees. Apple mandated employees return to work three days a week in September. Twitter owner Elon Musk, who has famously slept as his companies’ facilities as a show of commitment, ordered nearly all Twitter employees to return to the office five days a week in November.
Disney’s new policy comes less than two months after Iger returned to the helm of the company, promising a two-year stint that would spark renewed growth for the company and develop a successor to take his place.
Iger’s return in November came days after former CEO Bob Chapek said he planned to cut costs at the company, which had been burdened by swelling expenses at its streaming service, Disney+. Iger’s return also comes as legacy media companies contend with a rapidly shifting landscape, as ad dollars dry up and consumers increasingly cut off their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming.
Iger plans to reorganize Disney’s Media & Entertainment Distribution division, which oversees the company’s content and distribution. He has maintained a hiring freeze implemented by Chapek while he changes the company’s organizational structure to give budget powers back to those who select creative projects.
Disney shares have fallen about 40% over the past year. The company has a market valuation of around $174 billion.
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