Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz tells corporate workers to return to the office 3 days a week

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Howard Schultz
David Ryder | Reuters

Starbucks corporate employees will be returning to the office at least three days a week by the end of the month.

Starting Jan. 30, employees within commuting distance will be required to report to the coffee giant’s Seattle headquarters on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and a third day decided on by their teams. The memo didn’t specify what qualified as commuting distance.

Workers closer to regional offices will also be required to come in three days a week, although the specific days aren’t mandated.

The coffee giant’s corporate workforce has been working remotely since the start of the pandemic. In September, Starbucks asked those workers to work from the office one to two days a week. But CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a memo to employees on Wednesday that badging data showed employees weren’t adhering to that directive.

The new policy is meant to “rebuild our connection to each other and synchronize teams and efforts,” said the memo from Schultz, who is departing the company this spring. He also compared corporate workers’ continued remote work to baristas, who have never had that option.

Schultz stepped in as interim chief executive in April after former CEO Kevin Johnson retired. In his third stint at the company, he has announced a $450 million plan to reinvent Starbucks and fix what he called “self-induced mistakes.”

Starbucks isn’t the only company that has recently mandated a stricter return-to-office policy. CEO Bob Iger, who has returned for his second leadership stint at Disney, told employees on Monday that they must return to the office.

Elon Musk set even higher expectations for in-office attendance at Twitter after he acquired the social media company. And Apple mandated employees return to work three days a week back in September.

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