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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Julia Kollewe

Disney CEO Bob Iger tells staff to return to office four days a week

Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse attend Mickey's 90th Spectacular at The Shrine Auditorium
Bob Iger returned to Disney in November, taking over from Bob Chapel in a surprise comeback. Photograph: Alberto E Rodríguez/Getty Images

Disney’s boss has told employees who are working from home to return to the office four days a week from the start of March, according to reports.

Bob Iger, the chief executive, said hybrid workers will be asked to treat “Monday through Thursday as in-person workdays”, according to an email seen by CNBC, which first reported the news.

“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.”

The move comes after Iger – who ran Disney as CEO for 15 years and retired as chairman in 2021 – came out of retirement to serve as chief executive for two years. He took the helm from Bob Chapel in November in a surprise comeback to boost investor confidence and profits at Disney’s streaming media division.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, workers were forced to work from home and many now split their time between there and the office in a “hybrid” model. Disney is one of a number of companies clamping down on flexible working. The US businesses Snap, Tesla and Goldman Sachs have asked their staff to come back to the office, while many other companies have stuck to hybrid working.

Apple in September told staff to return to the office three days a week, while the Twitter owner, Elon Musk, ordered nearly all employees to come back five days a week in November.

Citi and HSBC are among banks that have promised to make hybrid working permanent, but dealmakers still face pressure to be in the office.

Most managers believe flexible working helps productivity, though long hours are still seen as essential for career progress, a UK study has shown.

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