In a memo to employees this morning, HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray announced that the publisher will begin returning to its U.S. offices starting October 4.

In the first phase of the program, HC’s New York and Princeton offices, along with distribution and customer service locations, will transition to a hybrid working model on October 4, with the majority of employees expected to spend 2-3 days a week in the office. Murray said this phase “in our gradual return to in-person work will act as a pilot program, which we intend to run for approximately four months.” He noted that, while management is putting plans in place for an October return, the company “will remain flexible during this pilot period, as we recognize that each employee has unique circumstances that may affect their ability to adhere to this timeline.”

Each employee’s schedule will vary based on role, function, and office location, Murray said. He noted that HC’s San Francisco and Boston offices will continue to work remotely for the time being.

In explaining HC’s approach, Murray wrote: “We believe that a hybrid approach will allow us to collaborate, innovate, and make the all-important connections with authors and agents that are integral to our business, while also allowing for the heads-down work time, technological connectivity, and life balance that we have all come to appreciate. It also reflects the feedback we received from employees indicating that the vast majority are looking for more flexibility and are interested in hybrid work.”

In closing, Murray stressed that the hybrid model pilot program is intended to help both the company and its employees learn what works and what doesn’t as the publisher works to develop a more comprehensive plan for the future. "At the end of this pilot phase, we plan to transition into a more formal, required work model, which will incorporate what we’ve learned,” Murray said.