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Thursday, January 12, 2023

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Announces New Return-to-Office Policy for Corporate Employees in Seattle

Starbucks is brewing up a storm with its new return-to-office policy! 

Three-time Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is calling all corporate employees to come back to the office a minimum of three days a week to "rebuild and revive the energy" of the headquarters and regional offices. 

Starting Jan. 30, Seattle employees within commuting distance are expected to work in the company's headquarters building on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and a third day determined by teams and leaders. 

The other two days work from anywhere. So, grab your coffee and head back to the office, partners!"

"From our badging data, it's clear that a good number of SSC [Starbucks Support Centre] partners are not meeting their minimum promise of one day a week," H. Schultz.

Welcome to DOTC-TV. I'm your host, Greg Walters.

As the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, many companies are looking to return to a sense of normalcy in the workplace. One such company is Starbucks. The Seattle-based coffee giant has recently announced a new policy mandating that its corporate employees return to the office a minimum of three days a week.

According to CEO Howard Schultz, the goal of this policy is to "rebuild and revive the energy" of the company's headquarters and regional offices. Schultz believes that the Starbucks brand is rooted in human connection and that it is crucial for employees to reconnect face-to-face in order to foster the kind of spontaneous idea generation and collaboration that can only happen in person.

Starting on January 30th, employees within commuting distance of the company's headquarters building will be expected to work there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and a third day determined by teams and leaders. The other two days will be designated as "work from anywhere" days.

This new policy will affect 3,950 corporate workers in their SoDo headquarters, in Seattle. 

The Bar @SoDo
Unlike those who work in the company's stores, Starbucks corporate employees have had the "privilege" of working remotely during the pandemic, according to Schultz. 

However, data from a hybrid model adopted last year showed that many of these employees were not meeting the minimum promise of returning to the office one or two days a week. Schultz called this situation "inherently not fair."

Starbucks is not alone in its decision to mandate a stricter return-to-office policy. Other companies such as Disney and Apple have also recently announced similar policies.

As the world continues to navigate the aftermath of the pandemic, it will be interesting to see how companies like Starbucks adapt and evolve. Will returning to the office help to rebuild the energy and human connection that Schultz believes is so crucial to the Starbucks brand? Only time will tell.

This has been Greg Walters, reporting for DOTC. 

Thank you for joining us.


DOTC Commentary

Irony.  I imagine a good amount of the retail business comes from Remote Workers utilizing Starbucks as a digital HQ.

And what, precisely, do three thousand, nine hundred, fifty people do at Starbucks HQ?  Seriously.

If Schultz embraced remote working and gave each employee a free coffee card from 9-5, foot traffic increases and would probably increase organic revenue growth.

I'm sure Starbucks studied this possibility as much as they did their badging data.

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