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Back to School for Beauty?

Here’s what eight beauty companies had to say when Beauty Inc asked them to comment on their plans for office returns.

Companies across the U.S. are still working out what works best for them and their employees when it comes to returning to the office after the global pandemic led to many across the world working from home for lengthy periods.

On the one side there’s those like Elon Musk’s electric carmaker Tesla, which is trying to bring back employees 40 hours a week, and others like Slack and Airbnb that allow workers to be fully remote. In between, there are many such as Apple and Peloton that have opted for a hybrid model and a number of those implemented those policies following Labor Day.

Here’s what eight beauty companies had to say when Beauty Inc asked them to comment on their plans for office returns (store and lab workers have different policies).

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BeautyHealth president and chief executive officer Andrew Stanleick said that the company, best known for its Hydrafacial, operates a fully hybrid work environment, benefiting both the company and employees, who now have much more flexibility.

“We’re asset light so on the financial side it helps,” he told Beauty Inc during an interview. “We’re offering a huge degree of flexibility. We haven’t been too prescriptive, but we’ve created a governance where employees come together for moments be it key meetings during the month or creative moments. But aside from that we give them the flexibility to live wherever they want to. It means that we’ve got teams spread all over the country and we meet in our hub of offices around the country for those moment to get together.

“There’s moments like today when I’ve been doing deep thinking in preparation [for our investor’s day] when I thought it’s more efficient for me to work at home,” he continued. “But then I’m really excited to go into the office this afternoon to meet our teams and have a creative session brainstorming our future so our hybrid work approach reflects that flexibility for employees.”

“We believe that a more flexible philosophy of remote working will give everyone the freedom to choose what works for their individual circumstances and empower them to always perform at their best,” a Coty spokeswoman told Beauty Inc.

To that end, it launched a hybrid workplace flexibility model, including a 50/50 target, meaning that all employees are able to work from home up to a maximum of 50 percent of their contractual working time.

“We are constantly reassessing the needs of our employees to ensure that our approach is appropriate.  We are collecting employees’ feedback to modify and evolve the approach as needed,” added the spokeswoman.

“We will continue to have an in-office presence as we believe in-person collaboration drives better business results. We have balanced this approach with increased flexibility through a hybrid model, returning to the office three days per week,” said Scott Milsten, chief people officer at E.l.f. Beauty.

As part of its return to the office, the listed beauty company made a number of changes that it believes will foster increased work/life balance and enhance the in-office experience. “Our new flexible time-off program allows for unlimited time off. All E.l.f. Beauty offices now close at 2 p.m. local time on Fridays year-round, and we’ve added more time to recharge,” said Milsten. “On long holiday weekends, we close our offices on the Friday before making them four-day weekends, and we are closed for the week of Thanksgiving, so teammates can unwind and spend time with family. Finally, for those teammates who do have an in-office presence, our enhanced benefits include catered lunches every Thursday, regular happy hours, and a new commuter allowance.” 

L’Oréal USA implemented a full return to its offices across the country in October 2021, with a permanent hybrid work policy that allows employees to work remotely up to two days per week. 

A spokeswoman for Sephora, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, declined to comment on its plans for return to office.

Head office employees at the U.S. arm of the Japanese beauty giant, whose brands include Nars, Drunk Elephant and Tory Burch Beauty, will be required to be in the office three days a week, including Tuesday and Wednesday. The third day is up to the individual.

The Estée Lauder Cos.
After two years of remote working, the Estée Lauder Cos. officially reopened its U.S. corporate and brand offices on April 4. 

“We continue to be guided by ELC’s global principles of approaching reopenings worldwide in a conservative, thoughtful and responsible way that aligns with local government guidelines and prioritizes the health and wellbeing of our employees,” it said in a memo to workers at the time. “Not only will April 4th mark in-person reunions for so many of our teams, it will mark the beginning of our future ways of working together. As we’ve previously shared, ELC will implement a hybrid work model for the vast majority of our corporate employees, where employees divide their time between working from ELC’s offices (on average 3 days per week) and remotely. Leaders will work with their individual teams to address the specific hybrid arrangements that work best for their teams and business needs. This new way of working will allow us to balance the joys of working together in person, while enabling greater work/life harmonization.” 

Ulta Beauty’s corporate team returned to the office in May, while its store and distribution center teams never transitioned to virtual work. In its offices, its model is centered around so-called FlexWork, which comes to life most prominently during its monthly corporate team weeks when the entire corporate team is in office during a designated week per month (Tuesday-Thursday). Beyond this designated time, corporate associates are required to come into the office three additional days per month based on the specific needs of their team. “Corporate team weeks fuel relationship-building, cross-functional collaboration, and importantly, represent an opportunity to invest in our culture,” said an Ulta Beauty spokeswoman. Corporate associates may also choose one month annually to work fully remote.