Most CNN Employees Will Not Return to Office This Year, Jeff Zucker Says

Jeff Zucker - Getty-H - 2019

"We expect that the majority of you will not be able to return to our offices this calendar year," the network president said Wednesday in a memo.

"The majority" of CNN employees won't return to the network's office this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, network president Jeff Zucker said Wednesday.

"We expect that the majority of you will not be able to return to our offices this calendar year," the exec wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "What happens after that is still a question mark, as well. No doubt the world, and our understanding of the way COVID-19 continues to shape our lives and our work, will change countless times between now and then. But I know it is important as you all make decisions for your own lives and your families that you are equipped with the most honest and transparent information we can give you.

On Tuesday, WarnerMedia chief HR officer Jim Cummings told employees that "most of us should plan to continue to work from home most likely through the end of 2020," according to The Daily Beast. In his memo, Cummings said the network's "workspace limitations are likely a reality until there's a vaccine or the virus somehow goes away."

In a memo in late April, Zucker had told staffers that the majority would not return to the office "in any significant way before the end of the summer."

In his new memo on Wednesday, Zucker said that CNN is targeting "an end of summer, early September timeline for another phase of returning employees."

He said that 15 percent of the company's employees are currently working from the office, with "a few more" returning to the office in the next few weeks.

"When you consider physical distancing requirements, we simply cannot put the same number of people back into our workspaces that were there before the pandemic. So we need to make some tough decisions," Zucker wrote. "We intend to spend the summer months hearing from all of you, and doing our best to balance the physical needs of our spaces with our production needs, as well as your preferences. And nothing happens without putting safety first. All of that will be taken into account as we make decisions about how and when we make the slow return back."

Zucker, who also serves as chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, said "there will likely be some changes" to where Sports employees are physically located "when we have a sense of league schedules in the summer months."

The Fox News Channel, which had originally targeted a May 4 office return date, is now targeting June 15 for a return.