EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate was among a slew of Hollywood studios that in August pressed pause on post-Labor Day office reopening plans, pushing the return date to October amid the rise in the Covid Delta variant. While a number of major Hollywood companies have since postponed the office reopen until January, Lionsgate is keeping the previously announced October 4 date, though the studio is opting for a phased return to the office that will roll out for different departments and divisions throughout the month of October.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer outlined the plan in a company memo this morning, a copy of which was obtained by Deadline.
The studio, whose Santa Monica offices have been open since May under a voluntary return policy, is adopting a hybrid model, with most employees working from the office three days a week and from home two days a week. Workdays and daily arrival and departure times will be staggered to limit workstation capacity to 50% each day, with additional accommodations allowed for employees with long commutes or child care concerns.
Feltheimer reiterated Lionsgate’s requirement, originally set in August, that all returning employees as well as office visitors must be fully vaccinated. Los Angeles County’s indoor mask mandate also will be followed.
Here is Feltheimer’s email:
I want to update you on our plans for returning to the office next month. I know some of you can hardly wait to return while others have genuine concerns about coming back after 18 months at home. I’ve listened carefully to the feedback not only of my senior leaders but employees across the Company, our response managers and our outside health and safety experts at CTEH. I can assure you that all of this feedback has been incorporated into our planning, and we’ve taken a number of your suggestions to heart.
There is no magic date for returning. Maybe things will be better in January, but we really have no way of knowing that. What I do know is that there are things we can accomplish together in the office that we can’t do remotely. That’s where the collaboration between departments happens… that’s where the personal contact and spontaneous meetings happen… and that’s where and how we train our new employees and open new doors for existing ones. That is how we maintain our entrepreneurial culture that allows us to compete against companies many times our size.
On October 4th, we will begin a phased return to our offices in the U.S., Canada and the UK that will roll out throughout the month of October. This letter will be followed by more specifics from Human Resources and your individual business unit heads. Those of you who have been coming into our offices know that, with the guidance of our health consultants and response managers, we have worked hard to keep our working environment the safest place you can be outside your own homes.
Ø We’re requiring every employee and every visitor to our offices to be fully vaccinated, without exception, and to follow appropriate masking protocols;
Ø We have state-of-the-art air filtration systems designed to minimize airborne transmission of the COVID virus;
Ø We have rigorous daily cleaning and sanitization procedures for all offices;
Ø At our 2700 Colorado Avenue offices in Santa Monica, we’re converting the first floor into a creative meeting and collaboration space. In the near term, it will be available for “hoteling” of workstations and offices for anyone who needs space for a specific project or activity; and
Ø We have Response Managers on site in Los Angeles, Denver and New York, with comprehensive contact tracing and notification procedures in place in the event of any COVID-19 exposure.
In addition to these steps, we’ve listened to your feedback by phasing the return of different departments and divisions over several weeks in October to give people more time to become acclimated and allow every aspect of our infrastructure to be tested. We will also stagger workdays and daily arrival and departure times within each department to limit workstation capacity to 50% each day, and we’re encouraging supervisors to try to accommodate employees with long commutes and child care concerns. Your supervisors will notify you of specific return dates and schedules for your department.
We will continue to make your health and safety our number one priority. We sent our production teams into the field over a year ago, and they’ve done an amazing job keeping dozens of Lionsgate films and television series shooting safely all over the world. We need to be in the office ourselves to effectively support their activities, and we’re learning important lessons every day from their continued safe operation.
Please know that you will have the Company’s full resources at your disposal every step of the way as you navigate the return to office in this new hybrid work environment. I welcome your continued feedback, and my door is always open. I look forward to greeting you personally on your return.