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US companies delay return to offices

Amazon delays return to office to January 2022

August 5, 2021–Amazon Delays Return to Office to 2022 Inc. said today it would delay corporate employees’ return to offices until next year as conditions around the Covid-19 pandemic evolve. The company adds to the wave of businesses adjusting their return-to-work plans in response to the highly-transmissible Delta variant Amazon said Thursday that it was pushing its return to offices to at least Jan. 3, 2022. The online retail giant previously had targeted early September for regular office work to resume. The decision affects office workers both in the U.S. and other countries. The Seattle Times earlier reported on Amazon’s change in plans. Unlike crosstown rival Microsoft, Amazon will not mandate employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine before they return to the office.
Return to office: January 3, 2022
Vaccines required: No

Microsoft to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees, guests; delays return to offices

Return to office: October 4, 2021
Vaccines required: Yes for employees, guests, and vendors

August 4, 2021 –US Bank delays its return to the office due to the Delta variant

US Bank told employees Wednesday they will no longer be due back in the office early next month and will push reopening to Q4. “There are increased caseloads across the globe, and the Delta variant has caused us to adjust our plans,” Andy Cecere, the company’s CEO, wrote in an email to employees. Jeff Shelman, a spokesperson for the bank, confirmed the email, which was first reported by the Star Tribune.
Return to office: Q4
Vaccines required: No

August 4, 2021 — Wells Fargo, BlackRock delay office returns

Wells Fargo and BlackRock announced Thursday that they’re pushing back their return-to-office plans to October amid rising cases of COVID-19. Moments after Wells Fargo’s decision was reported, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced they’re also pushing back their return-to-office plans to Oct. 1.

July 29, 2021 — Apple delays return to offices

Initially, Apple wanted its staff back to the office at least three days a week by early September. Now, the deadline has been pushed back to October, at the earliest. Workers will be told at least a month before when they’ll have to return to an office setting.
Return to office: October 2021 or TBD
Vaccines required: No

July 29, 2021 — Twitter closes opened offices and pauses further re-opening

In mid-July, the company’s New York and San Francisco offices were re-opened at a reduced 50% capacity for vaccinated employees who wished to return. “After careful consideration of the CDC’s updated guidelines, and in light of current conditions, Twitter has made the decision to close our opened offices in New York and San Francisco as well as pause future office re-openings, effective immediately.”
Return to office: TBD
Vaccines required: Yes

July 28, 2021 — Google will require vaccines and extends work from home to October 18th

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday said in a memo to employees that anyone returning to the company’s campuses must be vaccinated. Notably, the company announced an extension of its voluntary work-from-home policy through October 18. In the announcement, Pichai said “many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about retuning to the office.”
Return to office: October 18, 2021
Vaccines required: Yes

Companies announce vaccine policies

Employees must be fully vaccinated to enter offices that are open, including the health care insurance company’s headquarters in Indianapolis and its office in Atlanta, according to Anthem spokesperson Michelle Vanstory.

Since July 1, only vaccinated employees and visitors to the investment giant have been allowed to return to the office, according to a company memo obtained by NBC News. All U.S.-based employees, regardless of any plans to voluntarily return, were required to report their vaccination status by June 30.

The tech and telecoms conglomerate is only allowing vaccinated “critical workers” to come in to the office, and is pursuing a fully hybrid approach. “Whether that means you work five days a week at home and gather with your team for activities and connection every once in a while, or you are in the office five days a week … every Cisco employee will be hybrid,” Francine Katsoudas, executive vice president and chief people, policy and purpose officer, wrote in a memo to employees last week.

Delta Air Lines
The airline announced in May it would be requiring all new U.S. hires to be vaccinated against the coronavirus effective May 17. “This is an important move to protect Delta’s people and customers, ensuring the airline can safely operate as demand returns and as it accelerates through recovery and into the future,” the company wrote, adding that it would not be “putting in place a company-wide mandate to require current employees to be vaccinated.”

Although the food delivery service’s corporate employees are not required to come back in to the office until January, those who voluntarily do so before then must show proof of vaccination, the company said.

SoulCycle-owner and luxury fitness company Equinox announced Monday it will begin requiring members, riders and employees to provide a one-time proof of vaccination to enter its facilities and offices starting in New York City in September. “We have a responsibility to take bold action and respond to changing circumstances with urgency. We encourage other leading brands to join us in this effort to best protect our communities,” said Equinox Group Executive Chairman Harvey Spevak in a press release.

“As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our U.S. campuses to be vaccinated,” said Lori Goler, vice president, people, in an emailed statement to NBC News. “How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations. We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves. We continue to work with experts to ensure our return to office plans prioritize everyone’s health and safety.”

Car manufacturing titan Ford is only requiring employees who partake in international business travel to be vaccinated, the company said in an emailed statement. It also said it is continuing “to strongly encourage all team members who are medically able to be vaccinated.” The United Auto Workers labor union said Tuesday it would be reinstating a mask mandate at all of its facilities nationwide.

Goldman Sachs
Since June 10, the investment bank’s employees have been required to report their vaccination status in order to enter the office, according to Goldman Sachs spokesperson Abbey Collins. Unvaccinated employees have to wear masks and undergo weekly testing.

On July 28, Google became the first major tech company to announce a vaccine mandate for its employees looking to return to the office later this fall. “Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated. We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a memo. Pichai also announced that the company is pushing its return-to-office date back to October.

Financial giant Jefferies will only allow vaccinated individuals into its offices and to outside company events, according to a memo from CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman. “We require that, after Labor Day, anyone who is not fully vaccinated should continue to work from home, which fortunately has proven to be highly effective. We will closely monitor the situation and be ready to pivot and adapt whenever needed,” the two leaders wrote in their joint letter.

Starting Aug. 2, corporate employees will be required to show proof of vaccination in order to enter offices, according to an internal note obtained by NBC News. “For those who choose to continue working from our offices — which will remain open — our current safety guidance remains in place, including our existing mask requirement and vaccine requirement going into effect August 2,” said CEO and co-founder Logan Green. Green also announced that the company is delaying its full return to the office by six months, until February 2022.

The tech company announced Tuesday it will require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors and guests starting in September, adding that it is delaying the full opening for its U.S. offices from next month to Oct. 4. The company did not say in its emailed statement whether the new vaccination policy includes employees who have voluntarily been going into the office since the spring or those working at its retail stores.

Morgan Stanley
Only vaccinated employees are allowed in New York-area offices at this time.

The streaming service will be requiring vaccinations for casts of all U.S. productions, as well as the individuals who work with them on set, the company confirmed to NBC News.

The New York Times
The New York Times Company CEO Meredith Kopit Levien told staff members in an email last week that it will be requiring proof of vaccination for those who want to go into the office voluntarily. Levien also told employees that the publication would be pushing back its full office return from Sept. 7, without announcing a new set date.

The fashion company said it is asking employees to get the vaccine before returning to the office this fall. “If we’re asking people to come back, we have to make the environment as safe as we possibly can,” CEO Marc Metrick told The New York Times in May.

The customer-service software giant has only allowed vaccinated employees back to its offices as of May. All employees have the option to work from home until the end of the year.

The social media giant required employees to be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination before voluntarily returning to the company’s San Francisco and New York offices, both of which reclosed last week. In May 2020, Twitter said employees could work from home for as long as they want.

Tyson Foods
The meat and poultry producer announced Tuesday it is requiring its U.S. corporate workforce to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 and all other employees by Nov. 1, making it the largest U.S. food company to implement this kind of mandate. CEO Donnie King told employees that the company will also provide $200 to frontline team members who get the shot.

In an internal note obtained by NBC News, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees that starting Aug. 2, they will now be required to be fully vaccinated in order to return to the office. “If you are not vaccinated, you’ll need to work from home until you are fully vaccinated,” he wrote. Khosrowshahi also shared the company’s new return to office date: Oct. 25, 2021. “It’s important to say that this date is a global target, and local circumstances will continue to dictate when it makes sense to bring employees back in a given city,” he wrote.

Union Square Hospitality Group
Union Square Hospitality Group, which operates restaurants in New York City and Washington, D.C., will require vaccinations for staff members and guests. “Beginning the day after Labor Day, we are going to require that 100 percent of our staff members be vaccinated and that any guest who wants to dine indoors will be vaccinated as well,” founder and CEO Danny Meyer told NBC News.

United Airlines
Like Delta, United Airlines is also implementing a vaccine mandate for new employees, according to CNBC. United CEO Scott Kirby said in January that he wanted to make Covid vaccines mandatory for employees.

The pharmacy giant is requiring workers in its U.S. support offices to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30, it said in a statement Tuesday. Those who do not adhere to the new rule will have to undergo Covid testing. Store associates must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The Walt Disney Company
Disney is requiring all of its new, salaried and non-union hourly employees to get vaccinated before heading to work. “Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols, and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions,” the company said in part in an emailed statement. “Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”

Walmart corporate associates, managers and new hires are required to get their shot by Oct. 4, President and CEO Doug McMillon told employees in an internal memo obtained by NBC News. “As we all know, the pandemic is not over, and the Delta variant has led to an increase in infection rates across much of the U.S,” he wrote. “Given this, we have made the decision to require all campus office associates and all market, regional and divisional associates who work in multiple facilities to be vaccinated by Oct. 4, unless they have an approved exception.”

The Washington Post
Post employees, including new hires, must demonstrate proof of vaccination as a condition of their employment starting when they return to the office on Oct. 18, CEO Fred Ryan told staff in a memo sent out last week. “Even though the overwhelming majority of Post employees have already provided proof of vaccination, I do not take this decision lightly,” he said. “However, in considering the serious health issues and genuine safety concerns of so many Post employees, I believe the plan is the right one.”


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