As vaccination becomes more widespread and the pandemic seems to be on the wane in the US and UK, major publishers in in both countries have begun planning to return to the office, but they’re not just going back to the way things used to be.
Madeline McIntosh, CEO of Penguin Random House, wrote to staff that the company is “planning for the next normal,” and expects to reopen some offices in September, while also supporting work-from-home employees indefinitely. She said,
“Even once the building opens, we’ll need to be cautious in how we inhabit the space… the buildings will become a resource, but not a required one.” Penguin Random House “will be a ‘remote-friendly’ company…. That doesn’t mean that everyone will work from home all the time, but it does mean that those who choose to and are able to do their jobs from home (which is most of us, as 2020 showed) can continue to do so. As a company, we will vigorously support this mode.”
McIntosh herself plans to continue working from home: “We’re all eager to see each other and you all in person, but we don’t feel we need to do that on a daily basis.”
Hachette UK announced plans to bring staff back to work in their offices three days a week, phasing them in starting on June 21, 2021, with a “transition period over the summer,” and the shift going fully into effect on September 1. Their HR director, Melanie Tansey, wrote, “We now see home working as a crucial component of our working model and it’s here to stay…. That is why we’re transforming to a hybrid working model for the long term and believe it’s right for our business and for the wellbeing of all our staff.”
Bloomsbury UK is also planning a “partial return” to the office starting June 21, 2021, with some staff coming in two days a week. By September 7 they expect to transition fully to a “hybrid model of two days a week in the office and three days at home. Accommodation will be made for those who wish to work five days in the office and for those whose roles dictate it.”
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