The company’s board of directors restored Iger, who previously served as chief executive for more than a decade, to his former job at the end of last year and removed would-be successor Bob Chapek from the top position. Iger said that employees “currently working in a hybrid fashion will be asked to spend four days a week on-site, targeting Monday through Thursday as in-person workdays,” according to a memo obtained by Fox Business and other outlets.
“As you’ve heard me say many times, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney,” the executive remarked. “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.”
Many companies permitted employees to work virtually when government lockdowns shuttered offices across the country three years ago. As lockdown mandates subsided, however, many firms have experienced difficulties coaxing workers back to the office. Time savings from avoided commutes, as well as the flexibility to balance work and personal matters, are primary benefits cited by remote and hybrid workers, according to a poll from Gallup.
Other business leaders have also expressed a preference for employees to cease remote work. Tesla CEO Elon Musk informed employees at the electric automaker that work-from-home is “no longer” acceptable and commented on social media that those who disagree with the new policy “should pretend to work somewhere else.” During a meeting with Twitter employees before his acquisition of the social media company was finalized, Musk was asked about remote work, leading him to assert that working “on location physically” is far superior to other arrangements.
The costs of virtual work arrangements are palpable for employers: 85% of business leaders say the shift to hybrid work “has made it challenging to have confidence that employees are being productive,” according to a study from Microsoft.
Disney has experienced challenges over the past year partly due to the iconic company positioning itself against legislation in Florida that prohibits instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for students between kindergarten and third grade, ultimately causing a loss of trust among some consumers. Iger told employees soon after his reinstatement that he regretted the company’s decision to oppose the parental rights legislation, citing the “delicate balance” between telling stories and “listening” to audience members.
In an exclusive poll from The Daily Wire, 64% of Americans, including 62% of Democrats and 57% of independents, supported the Florida law that Disney publicly opposed.
Share prices for Disney have fallen 39% over the past year against the 16% decline witnessed by the S&P 500 index. Among other concerning metrics, Disney reported a significant slowdown in new domestic subscriptions for flagship streaming service Disney+ after leaping into the fray of contentious social issues, as well as the failure of multiple movies that featured same-sex attraction and were nevertheless oriented toward young children.
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