Disney is delaying its controversial move of about 2,000 corporate and Imagineering jobs from California to Florida. The company now says that its new campus at Lake Nona, near the Orlando International Airport, will not be complete until 2026 — a three-year delay from Disney’s original timeline.
Construction delays are not unheard of, especially in our current situation which has been affected by the pandemic. However, there are also other potential reasons: 1) a reluctance by employees to pick up and be relocated when it’s been demonstrated that working-from-home is viable; and 2) a strong reaction to moving to a state whose current leadership demonstrates an aversion to the company and its ideals.
Thousands of companies across the country are discovering how hard it can be to order employees back to the office. Now imagine trying to order employees back to the office in a community across the country that is openly hostile to you, your family or your colleagues.
Disney for many years has provided a home for LGBTQ+ talent and their allies. That’s long created tension between those who work in Florida’s tourism economy, led by Disney, and more conservative forces in the state.
So long as Florida could maintain a façade of welcoming and hospitality, that tension merely simmered rather than boiling over. But that façade is gone now, leaving Disney management to twist in the middle of a battle between a Florida administration that is paying the company a reported half a billion dollars to bring those jobs to Florida and Disney cast members and customers who want to see Disney management speak out against and cut off all contributions to those state leaders.
It also has left Disney Parks leaders trying to recruit creative leaders to live and work in a state that many creative leaders now would rather avoid.
Corporate relocations often result in experienced employees leaving the company rather than moving, allowing the company to hire cheaper replacements in the new location. But the type of tech-savvy creative workers that Walt Disney Imagineering wants are exactly the people now driving the trend toward remote work.
People want to live where they want to live — not necessarily where a job forces them. It’s understandable that people with the technical skills that allow them professional options would rather live in places that respect and protect them, their families and their friends.
If Disney Parks managers want to live in a state without income tax, let them. But Disney’s smarter move would be to allow more of their creative employees the option to live and work from wherever they want, as well. Yes, as location-based entertainment, the Disney parks will have to require Imagineers and managers to be on site from time to time. But the winners in the 21st century creative economy will be the companies that support remote work from employees who are demographically — and geographically — diverse.
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
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