Best Buy will bring a "small number" of teams with heavy holiday-season responsibility back to its Richfield headquarters in November.
The return — in a hybrid model — will serve as a pilot for its broader back-to-work plan to return office workers in early 2022, the company said.
Many companies in the Twin Cities and across the country had planned to bring employees back to corporate campuses over the summer or early fall, as more Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the surge in cases because of the delta variant has postponed plans in many cases.
Employees who return to Best Buy's headquarters in November must be vaccinated. The company said it will make work-from-home accommodations for those workers with health and religious exemptions. The exact details of the company's back-to-work plan could be revised as details of the Biden administration's broader vaccination mandate are disclosed.
Other exceptions to working in the office will be limited, but could include an employee who has young children who cannot yet be vaccinated.
Almost 90% of Best Buy corporate employees are vaccinated, the company said.
All employees who are fully vaccinated, both in stores and at headquarters, will receive a $250 bonus. The company also will continue to hold vaccination clinics for employees and in some cases their families.
Over the summer, Best Buy had launched a sweepstakes for vaccinated employees with 21 workers winning $5,000 in cash prizes.
Minnesota companies have tried various strategies to promote vaccination. Mandates gained more traction after federal regulators granted full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in August. Since President Joe Biden announced a vaccination mandate in September for companies with more than 100 employees, businesses have been figuring out how that would apply to their policies.
About 4,800 businesses employing about 1.4 million Minnesotans — about half the state's workforce — will be affected by the mandate, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
The vaccine mandate is yet another factor that affected companies' back-to-work plans.
In August, Target, the largest employer in downtown Minneapolis, postponed its fall back-to-office plans until at least the end of the year. The retailer said it would start opening common areas at its headquarters offices to workers who want to work there.
U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo pushed back office-return dates to at least October.