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Bob Iger orders Disney employees back to the office four days a week

Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger.
Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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The work-from-home era is over at Walt Disney Co.

Chief Executive Bob Iger has ordered Disney employees to return to the office four days a week — Monday through Thursday — starting March 1, according to a Monday email to staff viewed by The Times.

Iger, who returned to the CEO role less than two months ago, explained the change as a way to encourage in-person collaboration in service of creativity at the Burbank-based company.

“As you’ve heard me say many times, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney,” Iger said in the message. “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. It is my belief that working together more in-person will benefit the company’s creativity, culture and our employees’ careers.”

CNBC first reported on the change.

Workers are heading back to the office in increasing numbers, with larger employers taking a harder line than smaller ones.

April 21, 2022

Corporate leaders have been grappling with how to manage employees’ return to offices after many established flexible, hybrid schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed them to work from anywhere, saving money and time from long commutes. Many of the biggest employers in the Los Angeles area are focused on technology, entertainment and media, and view their company culture as a key to recruiting and retaining top talent.

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Companies have adopted widely varying policies during the last three years in order to balance their own needs with employee demand for flexibility as hybrid schedules became more firmly accepted. Peloton Interactive called employees back Tuesday through Thursday, while Apple brought staffers back in on Tuesdays, Thursdays and an additional day determined by individual teams.

The return-to-office plan is just one of the significant changes Iger has brought to the entertainment giant since his return in November, when the company’s board of directors recruited him to replace CEO Bob Chapek, who was dismissed amid the firm’s struggles just months after receiving a contract extension.

Iger has tasked a team of executives to restructure Disney, unwinding Chapek’s strategy of separating creative decisions from distribution plans. The move is meant to return power to the company’s creative leaders.

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