Oct. 22, 2021
Working in campus offices starting Nov. 8
To: All U.S.-based campus associates
From: Donna Morris, Chief People Officer
It’s hard to believe we’ve been working in a primarily virtual way since March 2020. Over this time, we’ve shared updates on COVID-19 testing, guidance on masks, handwashing, vaccines, boosters, social distancing, working in the office, not working in the office and more. Everyone has learned to integrate work and life more than ever before, all while serving customers and supporting associates at heightened levels.
It’s an understatement to say this has been a challenging time — one we simply couldn’t have imagined when we were ringing in 2020. It has taken flexibility, resilience and determination to continue moving forward through it all, which makes everything we’ve accomplished together nothing short of amazing.
From the bottom of our hearts — thank you.
We also never imagined the playbook for being back on campus together would be adjusted so many times throughout the various waves of the pandemic. But each time we’ve had to adjust the plan, you’ve continued to demonstrate we can move with speed, innovate and drive productivity while working virtually. Meanwhile, our associates in the stores and clubs have shown what we’ve always known: no one serves our communities like Walmart and Sam’s Club. Our associates in distribution centers and fulfillment centers have pushed boundaries, moved more product than ever before and have done it while proudly knowing they were making a difference.
We had a way of working before the pandemic and we developed an effective way of working during the pandemic. Now, I’m excited about our new, more flexible way of working. We are a company whose success is attributed to our people. 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.
Given all campus associates will be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation in November, we will transition to working together in our campus offices on a more regular basis starting the week of Nov. 8. Our Global Tech team will continue their primarily virtual way of working. You’ll hear more from your leaders in the near term with expectations for your area of the business.
The next few months will be an adjustment for all of us as we create our new ways of working together, decreasing our time in virtual meetings and increasing the time spent in person. I look forward to the halls and conference rooms buzzing with energy. It will be exciting to officially welcome new associates hired during the pandemic and congratulate associates in person who have been promoted to new roles or transitioned to new teams. It will be important we don’t lose some of what we gained the last several months – a focus on active communication, transparency and feedback – and adding remote connection options for meetings to ensure everyone feels included no matter the location.
Bottom line: We will focus our energy on serving our customers and members, and supporting our associates – not on where the work is getting done.
I’ve been eager to write this note for a year and a half now and can’t tell you how much I look forward to what the future holds. After many long months, I’m happy to say, “See you on campus soon!”