WSJ EIC Murray: Staff should be in office three days per week as of Nov. 1

Wall Street Journal editor in chief Matt Murray and managing editor Karen Pensiero sent out the following to the staff on Thursday:

Dear all,

Thank you for your efforts to return to the office over the last several months. It’s made a big difference to our journalism and to the camaraderie and pleasure of working at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.

For all our success in navigating the pandemic, there’s little doubt that we do our best work, produce our best products, and grow, share and learn the most, when we are physically together. That is especially clear on big news days like last Thursday, when Queen Elizabeth died, and everything we needed to produce worked better. And it’s not just that being physically together makes us better; it’s that being remote makes many things harder.

So it’s now time to take the next steps toward normalcy. With schools reopened and live events back in full force, with restaurants and city streets and subways and orchestra halls crowded, with airports jammed and air travel demand nearly back at pre-2020 levels, newsrooms should again be bustling as they are meant to. So we are updating our return to work policies:

–As of Nov. 1, staffers should be here at least three days a week, unless you have previously been granted an approved exception.

–Senior editors and managers–that is, masthead editors and their direct reports–should as a baseline be back in the office full time.

Of course, our offices are open seven days a week, round the clock, and we continue to encourage you to come in as often as you can.

As we always have, we will aim to preserve the flexibility that has long distinguished our unique work culture. News gatherers are often out of the office gathering news–and should be. News demands crop up at odd hours, and create odd schedules. Many of us have complicated and busy personal and family lives besides our jobs, and as we did for years before 2020, we expect managers and teams to work together to balance them. Managing all of that is also part of normalcy.

At the same time, being present at the office remains pivotal to our collective future, to our culture, to our teamwork and most important, to the quality of our products. It will be great to see more of you more often.

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