Bentonville-based Walmart said its corporate workforce in the U.S. will not return to their offices until July 5, 2021, at the earliest. The memo from Donna Morris, chief people officer at Walmart, went out to employees on Friday (Nov. 20).
Click here for a PDF of the memo.
Walmart said COVID-19 cases have continued to rise across the U.S. including areas where a majority of the retail giant’s corporate employees work — Arkansas, California, New Jersey and New York.
Morris acknowledged the positive news regarding successful vaccines in recent days, but said health experts seem to think broad access to the vaccines will take a number of months. She said that is the main reason Walmart will continue have its corporate employees work remotely for the next several months.
She said if circumstances change before then, the company will be flexible about returning earlier.
According to the memo, Morris said its longer-term view is that it is important for employees to work together in campus offices for the majority of the organization. Morris said working on campus is important to the culture and it aids in collaboration, innovation and speed. She said some roles like those in technology will continue to work remotely after the pandemic.
Walmart also shared the protocol for employees who choose to work in their office amid the COVID-19 crisis. Employees must complete a health screening prior to entry. Those in Northwest Arkansas also must reserve a time slot and masks are required unless the employee is working alone in an enclosed space. They are also asked to follow the protocol guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Walmart also asks employees to self-report COVID-19 positive cases beginning Monday, Nov. 23. The company has a confidential portal available where employees will report test results.