Cushman & Wakefield- Sponsor of the Pulse Blog

“It Has to be Good”

Sep 1, 2023

Foods maker J.M Smucker Co., whose slogan is “With a name like Smucker’s, It Has to be Good,” has developed a remote work strategy that The Wall Street Journal is reporting is in fact good, according to its employees. 

The company, which makes peanut butter, jelly and other items, “has adopted a return-to-office strategy that is unusual among U.S. companies. The company expects its roughly 1,300 Orrville, Ohio-based corporate workers to be on site as little as six days a month, or about 25% of the time, depending on their roles.  Employees are told to hit that threshold by coming in during 22 “core” weeks a year. Many employees can live anywhere in the U.S. so long as they pay their own way to get to Orrville for core weeks. This has led to a growing group of super-commuters who reside elsewhere but work in Orrville.”

“People generally show up” for core weeks, said Mark Smucker, the company’s chief executive and a fifth-generation member of the founding family. He was sitting in a conference room during a recent core week. A few other nearby rooms were also occupied. “They’ve adapted,” he said.

“The company arrived at its strategy after months of internal debate. As wave after wave of Covid-19 cases delayed a broader office reopening during the pandemic, more employees settled into a rhythm of working at home. Smucker’s chief people officer, Jill Penrose, faced a dilemma: How could she tell corporate employees who successfully did their jobs remotely for years that working at home no longer worked?”

The WSJ  article reported that during most core weeks, “Smucker’s headquarters is now about 70% to 80% full, Penrose said, above the national average. The company is benefiting in another way: During core weeks, workers log additional hours, scheduling back-to-back meetings and dinners with peers.”

David Harrison