As some offices in New York tentatively reopened their doors Monday to test the waters after being closed for months due to the coronavirus, The New York Times is adopting a more cautious approach.
Executives have informed staffers that the majority won’t be required to return to the office until at least January, a Times spokesman confirmed to WWD. Previously, the publisher had said staff may be able to start returning in September.
The exceptions are a few whose physical presence in the office is “deemed essential,” such as those working in print production or security and who are thought to have been in the office through much of the pandemic.
A small handful may also be asked to return before January for limited periods of time if they do work that substantially benefits from being done in the office — only if they feel comfortable doing so. In addition, a few of The Times’ offices outside of New York have reopened or will reopen soon, but returning to those offices will be voluntary, according to the memo.
“No employee will be required to return before January if they do not feel comfortable doing so,” the staff memo said.
When January does arrive, the Times spokesman said the company “may begin requiring some employees to return, assuming transportation and building conditions allow that to be done safely.”
On Sunday, The Times, which employs around 4,300 workers, published a story titled “How to Succeed in Your Office Job When There Is No Office.” Tips included shifting your mind-set, speaking up quickly if something isn’t working, finding office allies and removing distractions.
But while The Times is still planning to have its workforce return early next year, the pandemic has made other companies completely rethink their work from home policies.
Both Twitter and Facebook plan to offer some employees the option to work from home forever if they wish to do so.
“If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s vice president of people, said in a statement last month.