- Some Wall Street banks are gearing up to get more workers back to office this summer.
- Goldman Sachs is reopening its US offices on June 14 and its UK offices a week later.
- Here’s the latest on what big banks are telling employees.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Some Wall Street banks are pushing ahead to get employees back in the office by mid-summer.
After more than a year at home, during which bankers and traders had to adjust to dealmaking over Zoom and trading remotely, firms are setting timelines and procedures to bring employees back to the office.
Some Wall Street executives have been vocal about their belief that long-term remote work is detrimental to productivity and young bankers learning on the job. Meanwhile, long workweeks at home have been tough on junior bankers and are contributing to burnout.
We’ve got the latest on return-to-office dates and logistics across Wall Street.
Join Insider on June 24 at 1 p.m. ET/1o a.m. PT for a live webinar event, as executives from Deutsche Bank, Alliance Bernstein, and Accenture break down Wall Street’s hybrid work models and how firms are getting employees back to the office.
The firm will open all of its US offices on May 17 under a 50% occupancy cap and expects staff to return to the office on a rotational basis by July, according to a memo to staff sent on April 27.
JPMorgan expects everyone will be back in the office, on a rotational basis to comply with the 50% occupancy limit, by July.
“With this timeframe in mind you should start making any needed arrangements to help with your successful return,” according to the memo viewed by Insider.
“We firmly believe that working together in person is important for our culture, clients, businesses and teams, and we know that you’ll do your part to make it a positive experience that reflects our company at its best,” the memo said. The memo was first reported by Bloomberg.
Goldman Sachs is reopening its US offices on June 14 and its UK offices a week later, according to a memo sent by firm leadership on May 4 and reviewed by Insider.
CEO David Solomon has previously called remote work an “aberration” that Goldman would amend “as quickly as possible,” and the bank was the first on Wall Street to announce that its summer internship program would take place in-person.
“We know from experience that our culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together, and we look forward to having more of our colleagues back in the office so that they can experience that once again on a regular basis,” said the memo, which was sent by CEO David Solomon, COO John Waldron, and CFO Stephen Scherr.
Bank of America
A majority of the bank’s force of some 200,000 employees are working from home. The company has said it plans to ask employees to return to their offices in phases, depending on their roles and local health guidelines, and that it is not currently requiring employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to their offices.
Bank of America is asking staff to voluntarily disclose their vaccine status, a spokesperson told Insider. Some 7,000 employees within the firm’s wealth-management unit have already disclosed, a source told Insider.
Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said during Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting in mid-April that he expects “a more normal operating posture” for US-based employees after Labor Day in September.
A spokesperson for the firm told Insider that there had been no change to the firm’s back-to-office policies as of the beginning of May.
Citi has said it is planning for a widespread hybrid model which would entail employees working from their offices at least three days per week and from home two days per week, CEO Jane Fraser said in a company blog post in late March. The bank’s HR head outlined additional steps in a LinkedIn post last month.
“Regardless of the role, we will expect everyone to be onsite at certain times as part of our ongoing efforts to increase connectivity and collaboration,” Fraser wrote in the blog. “As more of us return, we will continually check in with managers so we can evolve our approach as needed.”
Not all roles would be eligible for this hybrid model, she wrote. Instead, some companies would stay as “resident” roles, which must be performed onsite. A small number would be considered remote roles that can be done away from a Citi location, but such roles “will be somewhat rare,” she added.
Previously, Sara Wechter, Citi’s head of human resources, wrote in a post shared on LinkedIn that the company was planning to bring back about 30% of its workforce through the summertime, with even more returning in September, and it was implementing social distancing measures to ensure public health and safety at the office.
Citi also planned to offer at-home testing for employees coming back to work, to help decrease the spread of the coronavirus. A spokesperson for the company told Insider that the policies announced by Fraser and Wechter remain up-to-date.
Credit Suisse told employees based out of its office on Madison Avenue in New York City that, if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, they may voluntarily return to the office starting June 14.
The company will employ a staggered approach for bringing people back, per an internal company memo reviewed by Insider. After Labor Day, the Swiss bank will advance toward its second phase of the return to office, beginning September 6, when the typical full-time, in-office work schedule will resume.
The memo was signed by Eric Varvel, chairman of the investment bank; Jay Kim, co-head of the fixed income sales and trading division; and David Miller, global head of credit.
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf and COO Scott Powell told employees in a March 30 memo that it was targeting a “more normal operating model” after Labor Day.
“We are encouraged by the significant increase in vaccination availability and have started to plan for a return to a more normal operating model in September,” Scharf and Powell said in the letter. They noted that some 200,000 workers have worked from home during the pandemic, while 60,000 have continued to come to work in branches, operations centers, and office locations.
From now till September 6, the company has told its employees to continue working from home even if they are fully vaccinated, but said that its Operating Committee “may allow certain business or functional subgroups in the US to return to the workplace before Labor Day.”
Post-COVID, the company says it stands by the idea that employees benefit from physical togetherness. “Being pulled into meetings, learning from seeing how others work, and the often unplanned, casual interactions that occur when people see each other in the workplace can be really important,” they said.
A Wells Fargo spokesperson told Insider that the policies laid out by Scharf and Powell in that letter from the end of March remained current as of the beginning of May.
About 90% of Deutsche Bank’s New York-based workforce continues to work remotely as of the beginning of May, a person familiar with the company’s back-to-office plans told Insider.
The German lender is in the process of building a new office space in New York, Deutsche Bank Center, which is slated to open in July, but the bank is remaining flexible as far as when the office will reopen given that construction is still underway.
The firm plans to pivot to a more flexible working arrangement post-pandemic.
Deutsche is “moving to provide our employees some additional flexibility in hybrid working models,” James von Moltke, the bank’s CFO, told Bloomberg in a televised interview last week. “It’s a range of 40 to 60 perfect, we think, of flexibility. And it will really be up to the employee, but in a structured way with the manager so we know when people are expected to come to the office.”
Lazard told incoming investment-banking summer interns based in the US that their “completely virtual” internships will begin on June 7 and end on August 6, in a memo sent on April 7 by Hillary Haber, the firm’s vice president in financial advisory human resources, that was viewed by Insider.
Separately, Haber told the interns that, while all of the firm’s US offices are open, most Lazard employees are continuing to work remotely by choice. The firm anticipates a more widespread return to its offices beginning after Labor Day.
When that does happen, Lazard said the migration back to in-person work won’t mean a return to the conventional five days per week at the office. Instead, she said, the firm will employ a hybrid model amalgamating both in-office and remote work.
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