Walmart‘s corporate employees will begin to return to the company’s Arkansas headquarters and other offices across the country in early November, according to a company-wide memo obtained by CNBC.
In a memo to employees on Friday, the big-box retailer said workers will “transition to working together in our campus offices on a more regular basis” starting the week of Nov. 8.
“We are a company whose success is attributed to our people,” said Walmart’s Chief People Officer Donna Morris in the message. “While technology has enabled us to succeed while working virtually throughout the pandemic, there is no substitution for being in the offices together — it helps shape our culture, collaborate, innovate, build relationships and move faster.”
Morris said company leaders will notify employees about expectations for return to office, based on their role. She said Walmart’s global tech team will continue to primarily work virtually. That team includes software engineers and data scientists.
Walmart is the country’s largest private employer with nearly 1.6 million workers. Most of those employees work in stores and warehouses across the country that have stayed open throughout the pandemic. The retailer is requiring corporate employees to get Covid-19 vaccinations, but stopped short of requiring them for its entire workforce.
Morris cited the vaccine requirement in the return to the office memo, saying that all campus employees will be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation in November.
In a statement in early October, a Walmart spokesperson said the “overwhelming majority of campus associates and field leaders have been vaccinated.” She said some employees received an approved medical or religious accommodation, which will mean regular Covid tests, mask wearing and social distancing in most cases.
Over the past several months, major employers have pushed back return to office dates and shared updates about their plans. Amazon said last week that the company will leave it up to individual team directors to decide how often their employees work in the office. Target said in August that it won’t require employees to return to its headquarters until 2022.
Walmart is in the process of building a new home office in Bentonville, Arkansas.