Comcast, the telecommunications giant and one of the Philadelphia’s largest employers, has (another) official back-to-office plan.
Starting the week of Sept. 12, all US Comcast employees will be expected to work in the office three days a week, according to an internal memo that went out to employees on Tuesday. That includes about 8,000 employees who report to the two Comcast towers in Center City. As of last year, the company employed more than 17,000 local workers.
Dave Watson, president of CEO of Comcast Cable, wrote to employees in the memo:
“A big part of our culture is working together. Innovation thrives when teammates are together to spontaneously consider and debate ideas. Our ability to listen and take action on key initiatives is enhanced. And for teammates hired since the pandemic began, it’s important to be able to provide better guidance and management and for them to develop face-to-face relationships.”
“It is clear that in-person interaction and collaboration is core to our company and culture,” he continues. “In fact, as we’ve spoken with teammates around the company, many of you have shared that you are eager to get back into the office. We’ve also heard that when you have come in in recent months, there are fewer people in the office so the experience is not as rewarding and productive as it could be. To optimize the experience while supporting the business, we’ve concluded that we need more certainty and direction to coordinate our in-office time better.”
The memo says the company is “asking,” employees to come in a minimum of three days a week — identifying Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as in-office days, while Monday and Friday will remain remote for those who wish to work from home. The company won’t be requiring a proof of vaccination to return to the office, pointing to current local guidelines. The memo says the company is in favor of “flexible” work, saying to employees: “Please continue to use it in how you manage your working hours, your commute, or additional remote working when warranted.”
The memo also encourages employees to be mindful of their health, encouraging the use of remote work when someone’s feeling under the weather, or to take PTO.
Last summer, Comcast said back-to-office plans were coming eventually, first starting with an optional soft opening for a “small number” of senior leaders in select locations. The company said then that it planned to use that time to test its office protocols and arrangements, with a plan for a “broader return” in the fall.
But with a rise in cases of the Delta variant, no official order for in-office work came in 2021. Last year, Paul Levy, president and CEO of the Center City District, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that recovery for the district, which has lost business with workers staying at home, seemed “right ahead of us.” The CCD estimated in summer 2021 that there were 100,000 missing employees in Center City.
But the sentiment that the company would have an eventual return was repeated again earlier this year. In a memo to staff in February, Comcast NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said, “I hope everyone is feeling as energized as I am, and that you are looking forward to seeing your colleagues in person again in the weeks ahead.” CNBC reported that the exec called the impending return an “exciting time.”
Are you a Center City Comcast employee? Share how you’re feeling about this transition: email@example.com.
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