NBC Universal is one media company that seems to be in no great rush to get its people back into offices and newsrooms amid the coronavirus.

The media conglomerate has told all of its workers that those working from home should expect to keep doing so “for some period of time,” according to an internal memo obtained by WWD from Adam Miller, NBCU’s executive vice president. That period of time will vary by department, but sources have indicated to WWD that some areas of the company operating remotely, like digital news, partnerships and advertising, likely won’t return to offices before the end of the year.

“As we consider who to bring back to the office and when, factors we are considering include the latest government guidance, dependency on public transportation, workspace layouts, and reliance on elevators in a facility,” Miller wrote in the memo. “We will initially prioritize business-critical roles that require work site access. And as time goes by and new information is available, we will bring more and more employees back.”

There are some NBC employees who are already working, mainly in the studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where NBC is headquartered and where TV news programs are still being produced. Although it’s being done with a very limited number of crew.

NBC’s approach, at least for now, differs from news operations like The New York Times and the Washington Post, which have told their staffs to expect a return to work around September. NBC is a far bigger operation, but it seems to be taking a more cautious approach. 

NBC is still in the planning stage of when and how exactly to bring increasing numbers of people back to offices and it has tens of thousands of employees to consider. Although some employees will be making the return later than others, the company offered some guidance on how they should protect themselves and others from the virus while at the office.

The company is telling employees to self-monitor their temperature by checking “morning and evening” for a fever, so before and after work. Some areas of the company will also be instituting temperature checks at entries to work locations, but it is unclear where and how widespread the effort will be.

All NBCU employees are also being “strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while at work,” according to Miller’s memo. Some work areas will require face coverings, although Miller did not specify which. It’s thought that those requirements will likely be for those working on production sets. Employees will be getting more specifics in the coming weeks.

As for how workers are to behave while at work, they are expected to maintain physical distancing at all times, so keeping at least 6 feet apart and generally “limit face-to-face contact with others.” Gathering in groups will not be allowed and any meetings should be virtual, the company said. Visitors will also not be allowed outside of those approved by the company.

Even with all these expectations, marking a major change to how people conduct themselves at work, NBC said the guidelines “may change over time,” indicating there are still plenty of unknowns when it comes to working amid a pandemic.

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