Disney CEO Bob Iger tells employees to return to the office four days a week

Bob Iger poses with Mickey Mouse at Mickey’s 90th Annual Spectacular at The Shrine Auditorium on October 6, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Valerie Macon | AFP | Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Iger told Hybrid employees on Monday that they must return to corporate offices four days a week starting March 1, according to an email obtained by CNBC.

In the email, Iger emphasized the importance of personal cooperation.

“As I’ve been meeting with teams across the company over the past few months, I’ve been reminded of the tremendous value of being together with the people you work with,” Iger wrote. “As you’ve heard me say many times, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney. And in a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe and create with peers that comes from being physically together, nor from being able to develop professionally by learning from leaders and mentors.”

During the pandemic, many companies decided to work from home or hybrid work models that reduced large gatherings of people, and thus the spread of Covid, to a minimum. As vaccination rates have risen and case and hospitalization rates have fallen, companies like Disney have sought to bring staff back into offices and return to a more normalized pre-pandemic work environment.

Iger’s four-day week provision is relatively strict compared to other large companies, which have opted for two or three mandated work days for hybrid employees. Apple ordered employees to return to work three days a week in September. Twitter owner Elon Musk, who famously slept in his companies’ facilities as a sign of commitment, ordered nearly all Twitter employees back to the office five days a week in November.

Disney’s new policy comes less than two months after Iger returned to the company’s helm, pledging a two-year stint to jump-start the company’s regrowth and develop a successor to take his place.

Iger’s return in November came days after former CEO Bob Chapek said he planned to cut costs at the company, which has been weighed down by rising costs on its streaming service, Disney+. Iger’s return also comes as legacy media companies struggle with a rapidly changing landscape, as advertising dollars dry up and consumers increasingly ditch their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming.

Iger plans to reorganize Disney’s media and entertainment distribution division, which oversees the company’s content and distribution. He has maintained a hiring freeze implemented by Čapek while changing the company’s organizational structure to return budget authority to those who choose creative projects.

Disney shares are down about 40% over the past year. The company has a market value of about $174 billion.

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