Starbucks tells corporate employees to return to office 3 days a week

Corporate workers at Starbucks must return to the office at least three days a week by the end of January, interim CEO Howard Schultz announced in a Wednesday memo, as another corporate giant clamps down on remote work.

Employees within commuting distance of the company’s Seattle headquarters will be required to be there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and another day to be agreed upon with managers. Employees of regional offices must report to the office three days a week, though the memo didn’t name the days or specify what counts as commuting distance.

When Starbucks embarked on hybrid work last year, Schultz said, corporate workers “made a promise” to be in the office between one to two days a week.

“From our badging data, it’s clear that a good number of SSC partners are not meeting their minimum promise of one day a week. This is why I am also announcing that this policy … is a requirement,” he wrote. “It’s that critical to our business success.”

SSC refers to the Starbucks Support Center, the company’s Seattle headquarters.

The announcement comes a few days after Disney CEO Bob Iger ordered workers to return to the office four days a week starting March 1. Disney employees will have to be in offices from Monday to Thursday.

Many large companies are enforcing strict back-to-work rules after remote work became commonplace during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apple, for example, has called for its corporate workers to be in the office at least three days a week. Snapchat’s parent company recently asked workers to return to the office 80% of the time, or the equivalent of four days a week, beginning in February.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams bemoaned the impact of remote work on the city’s economy. Office vacancy rates are now at a record high as the Adams administration points to the continuing slow pace of workers returning to the office since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

– CNN’s Jordan Valinsky and Mark Morales contributed reporting.

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