Walmart offers employees a more 'flexible' way of working, asking them to return to the office next month

·2 min read
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  • Walmart asked all of its corporate associates to return to the office in a memo released Friday.

  • The retailer did not disclose if this change is mandatory.

  • The transition will begin on November 8, according to Walmart's chief people officer Donna Morris.

Walmart asked its corporate associates to return to the office next month, saying in a note to employees "there is no substitution for being in the offices together."

The note, posted on the company's website, stated that associates who work in the company's campus offices will return on November 8 as part of a "new, more flexible way of working" after operating remotely for most of the coronavirus pandemic. The company's Global Tech team will continue to work remotely, the note said.

Walmart's return to in-person working will vary by area, a company spokesperson told Insider in an email. Walmart's Global Tech team will continue working remotely, while expectations for other associates will vary.

"Given all campus associates will be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation in November, we will transition to working together in our campus offices on a more regular basis starting the week of Nov. 8," Donna Morris, Chief People Officer, said in the note. "There is no substitution for being in the offices together," she added.

The move comes as many companies grapple with whether to make a return to the office mandatory for employees who transitioned to remote work about 18 months ago in the early days of pandemic lockdowns. Many workers have said they would refuse to come back to offices full time. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent Alphabet Inc., said this week the company would enact a hybrid model. Amazon this month said it would let corporate employees work from home indefinitely.

In July, Walmart mandated corporate employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees had until October 4 to get vaccinated, Insider reported. Walmart was the first major retailer to require certain corporate employees get vaccinated.

"We continue to prioritize the health and safety of Walmart associates during the ongoing pandemic and know vaccinations are key to fighting the virus," the Walmart spokesperson told Insider. "We will focus our energy going forward on serving our customers and members, and supporting our associates - not on where the work is getting done."

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