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Nike WHQ to Shift to Flexible Working Model

By Chuck Dobrosielski




After 15 months of working from home, employees at Nike’s World Headquarters (WHQ) in Beaverton, Ore., will begin to transition to a flexible working model next month.


According to a memo obtained by Insider, the footwear giant’s current plan is to move to a model where all office-based employees work remotely up to two days a week, with the expectation they come into the office at least three days a week. “Over time, we anticipate that norms will develop around the days we’re together, and we’ll learn and assess what works best,” the email, reportedly sent Wednesday, said.


“While it’s true many of us feel productive working remotely, there’s something about spending time in the office with your team,” Jeff Nichols, the memo’s author and vice president of workplace design and connectivity, wrote. “WHQ is the physical representation of Nike’s heart and soul. Coming back together means the opportunity to honor our legacy and create the future together. And we’ll do it with added flexibility—because we know that work happens anywhere, not just in an office.”


Though Nike WHQ has remained open throughout the pandemic for “business-critical work,” June will mark the beginning of the return for most employees. Services and amenities are expected to ramp over the summer, with the hope that all buildings on campus will open at reduced capacity by September.


Reopening timelines and plans for other offices will vary by country and location, Nike said.


“Nike’s business and culture thrive when we collaborate, create and learn together. We plan for office-based employees to return to the workplace under a new, flexible model, balancing individual needs with the needs of the business,” Nike said in a statement. “This flexible model is new to us, and we will continue to seek input from teammates and make adjustments—as needed—over time.”


Nike’s email—released before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance that fully vaccinated Americans can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing—notes that the company will continue to follow “strong, established safety protocols around enhanced cleaning, social distancing and face coverings.” The athletic giant said it will provide more information in July, after the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s next planned update.


Nike’s shift to a flexible working model comes as companies from Salesforce to Target reveal their own plans to allow for a mix of in-office and at-home work. These shifts, on top of broader casualization trends, present a gloomier outlook for brands that once relied on selling business clothes and footwear to office workers. Recent research, however, indicates that a growing number of professionals plans to adopt a casual approach to in-office dressing, benefiting companies like Nike.

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