The CEO of Walmart says in-person office interactions are still essential

While offices around the country begin to reconsider office design due to the pandemic, Walmart doesn’t expect to make any sweeping changes to the company’s new headquarters, Walmart CEO Doug McMillion said Wednesday.

“I don’t anticipate significant changes,” McMillon said, via Business Insider, when asked about Walmart’s new 300-acre campus.

Walmart announced it was moving its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters to a new 300-acre campus in 2019, which visually appears similar to the headquarters of tech companies in Silicon Valley. McMillion said in a call with shareholders that Walmart has “flexibility and time” to figure out if things need to be changed, but he noted they have seen that things were missing.

“Just one example would be, it’s hard to onboard a new associate in this environment,” McMillion said. “How do you get to know people? How do you get a sense of what culture is like? And culture inside a company is such an important aspect that I think being present with each other is going to matter over time. And that will influence the way we think about our new home office campus.”

McMillion said Walmart’s remote working has been impressive during the COVID-19 pandemic, but said that in-person interactions remain important for the day-to-day operation at the company.

“Our technology team, for example, has continued to have tremendous momentum with many of them working from home,” he said. “And we’ve announced some changes related to that part of our team, but big picture, I think in a post-vaccine world we’re going to need office space where people are going to collaborate and work together.”

When offices do reopen their doors, many changes are expected in the interim like temperature checks, office redesign, and even more, flexible work options as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.