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Disney calls all staff back into the office starting March

Disney CEO froze all hiring so they could restructure and is now calling remaining staff back into the office – is this all part of the headcount reduction plan?

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According to a memo released by Disney CEO, Bob Iger, employees who have been working on a hybrid basis will be expected to return to the office starting in March. This shift comes as part of a company-wide initiative to alter and improve practices.

The memo, released on Monday, outlined various praises for the company’s accolades over the last year, citing achievements such as Avatar: The Way of the Water’s record-breaking release and Broadway’s The Lion King celebrating its 25th year of running.

Eventually, Iger’s memo meandered to the main point. 

“…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…It is my belief that working together more in-person will benefit the Company’s creativity, culture, and our employees’ careers,” wrote Iger. 

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He then explained that, starting on the first of March, formerly hybrid employees would be required to come to the office for “in-person workdays” Monday through Thursday.

The decision may seem abrupt, but Iger’s proposed changes in the memo all share the basic commonality of invoking company-wide reform. The Hollywood Reporter posits that many of these decisions have the end goal of “[prioritizing] decision-making by creatives” as well as improving Disney’s streaming services. 

It’s worth noting that remote work has had its fair share of spotlight time in the last few years, with many companies considering a return to the office as a token gesture of a return to normalcy.

Some research using focus groups composed of remote-capable workers has shown that employees tend to do their best work when able to work from home, while others–like Iger–have maintained that humans need human contact en masse to do their best work.

Regardless of the intentions behind the shift, it is likely that Disney will lose some hybrid employees in the shuffle. Perhaps that is part of Iger’s strategy.

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The same research that suggests a higher quality of life and output alike when able to work remotely also showed that a statistically significant number of employees would strongly consider seeking employment elsewhere if asked to return to a traditional office setting. 

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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