- Uber’s CEO explained the company’s decision to delay its return-to-office date in an internal email.
- He also said US-based employees who come to the office now must be vaccinated.
- And employees in all countries must wear a mask in the office.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explained the company’s decision to delay its company-wide return-to-office date and require that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to the office in an email sent to employees on Thursday. Insider viewed a copy of the message.
As Insider previously reported, Uber moved its return-to-office date to October, a month later than previously planned. Khosrowshahi said the company is targeting October 25, though different cities may return on different days depending on local conditions. Khosrowshahi added that Uber will wait until September 30 until making a final decision on the date, though “many” offices will remain open for those who decide come in before them.
“Like many of you, I’ve been excited for the day when we can all work together in person again,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “At the same time, rising Covid cases in our communities are a real reminder that we still need to be cautious, look at the data, and listen to experts as we return to offices.”
US-based employees who come to the office will need to be vaccinated, Khosrowshahi wrote, and employees in all countries must wear a mask. “This is out of an abundance of caution and to do our part to help prevent new surges in our communities,” he said. “Once local health guidelines change and it is safe to do so, we will remove the masking requirement.”
The decision comes after an Uber employee spread COVID-19 to multiple colleagues after attending a board meeting, as Insider previously reported.
In June, Uber revised its initial back-to-office plan, which would have required employees to spend three days a week in the office beginning in September, amid internal criticism. The company reduced its in-office requirement to 50% of work days, and some employees will have the opportunity to apply for an exemption from the requirement to work in the office.
An Uber spokesperson said the company had no further context it wanted to provide when contacted by Insider before this story was published.
You can read Khosrowshahi’s full message below:
Like many of you, I’ve been excited for the day when we can all work together in person again. At the same time, rising Covid cases in our communities are a real reminder that we still need to be cautious, look at the data, and listen to experts as we return to offices.
Every day, teams across the company are closely monitoring the rapidly changing global situation. We’ve said that we will make decisions as fast as we can based on the information and public health guidance available to us. And we will continue to share those decisions as quickly and transparently as possible.
We have a few important updates to share:
First we’ve decided to push back our global “return to office” date to October 25, 2021. It’s important to say that this date is a global target, and local circumstances will continue to dictate when it makes sense to bring employees back in a given city. We commit to telling you by September 30 whether we’ll proceed with October 25 or push it back further. It’s also important to say that many offices will still be open for employees to come in on a voluntary basis, consistent with local health guidance.
Second, we will now require that employees be fully vaccinated to come to the office, starting in the US and expanding to other countries, subject to local guidelines. We know that vaccines are more widely available in some countries than others. Given the level of vaccine availability in the US, we will start by mandating vaccination for employees based there, and we’ll follow up with guidance for employees outside the US. If vaccines are readily available in your country, we strongly encourage you to get one as soon as you can.
In the US, starting Monday, if you need or want to be in the office, you’ll need to have proof of vaccination uploaded in ServiceNow (via OneLogin); that capability in ServiceNow will be ready on Friday. If you are not vaccinated, you’ll need to work from home until you are fully vaccinated.
Third, effective immediately, all employees globally will need to wear masks in the office. Anyone coming into the office must wear a mask for the time being, regardless of their vaccination status. This is out of an abundance of caution and to do our part to help prevent new surges in our communities. Once local health guidance changes and it is safe to do so, we will remove the masking requirement.
I know these updates are most likely both welcome but at the same time frustrating for those eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy. But, resilience is in Uber’s DNA, and time and again you’ve shown incredible resolve — everything we’ve done for our communities during the pandemic is proof of that.
Our benefits teams have also worked tirelessly to provide you with many resources, from enhanced flexibility for caregivers and time off to get yourself or your children vaccinated, to mental health resources and our new hybrid work approach, and more.
Please continue to take care of yourselves and your families. We will continue to share updates as we have them. In the meantime, if you have any questions, check out our FAQ (being updated on a rolling basis) or submit a ticket to HR here.
Are you a current or former Uber employee? Do you have a news tip or opinion you’d like to share? Contact this reporter at [email protected], on Signal at 646-768-4712, or via his encrypted email address [email protected].