Wall Street is getting back to work. Here are the latest return-to-office plans for 5 firms, including JPMorgan and Bank of America.
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With the afterglow of Labor Day in the rearview mirror, and six months of remote work having reshaped much of how Wall Street does business, industry executives are laying the groundwork for plans and timelines to get back to work the old fashioned way.Not everyone has been looking forward to this return to a more normal semblance of work, however. In June, Korn Ferry, a recruiting firm, surveyed 1,000 professionals and found that as many as half indicated that they were "fearful of going back" to the office, "due to health concerns." A separate survey released by Paychex in July polled another group of more than 1,000 full-time workers in America, and found that on-site employees who are physically in offices reported experiencing high levels of stress at a rate that's nearly twice the number of remote workers who said the same: 63% to 35%.It's not entirely clear that their reasons are directly tied to the threat that the coronavirus may present should they head back to the office — and many firms are taking steps to safeguard their workers' health as Wall Street starts to phase in a gradual return to physical offices. Business Insider is closely watching Wall Street firms that are bringing people back to the office, and we'll continue to update this list as companies solidify their plans. Read more: Blackstone is encouraging US workers to return to the office after Labor Day, and that's putting some employees on edge Are you a finance industry professional who is concerned about going back to work? Contact this reporter confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org.SEE ALSO: Inside a 38,000-person remote work rollout at Goldman Sachs: sleepless nights, assembly lines, and an Amazon-like hub on a Manhattan trading floor SEE ALSO: Wells Fargo is ditching a 750-person WeWork space, while Citi inked a deal with the flex-office giant far from a big city. Here's a look at how financial firms are retooling their real estate. SEE ALSO: Blackstone is encouraging US workers to return to the office after Labor Day, and that's putting some employees on edge JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is beginning to phase workers in offices in New York, plus parts of Europe and Asia, with plans to cap off building occupancy at maximum 50%, according to a source familiar with the situation. Wall Street's largest bank by assets will continue opening offices in the coming months based on local health data and government advisories — but its plans to bring workers back have already spawned hiccups. Executives at the bank reportedly had told employees on the bank's sales and trading teams that they expect their staffs back in the office by September 21, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal on September 10. It's a move that was heralded on social media by President Donald Trump."Congratulations to JPMorgan Chase for ordering everyone BACK TO OFFICE on September 21," the president tweeted on September 11. "Will always be better than working from home!" However, Bloomberg reported on September 15 a JPMorgan employee tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the firm to send more employees home. The bank has hinted that it might adopt a longstanding cyclical approach that could see its workers spending as much as half of their time at home — in fact, the head of its corporate and investment bank, Daniel Pinto, called this new policy "more or less permanent," according to CNBC. "Depending on the type of business, you may be working one week a month from home, or two days a week from home, or two weeks a month," he said. Goldman Sachs
Employees at Goldman Sachs will imminently "hear from their divisional, business and/or local leadership about what to expect for the months ahead, including team rotations in the office where possible, with the goal of giving everyone who can do so an opportunity to come in to their office." That's according to an email sent to Goldman's entire workforce — about 39,000 people — sent out on Wednesday by the firm's top leadership: CEO David Solomon, president John Waldron, and CFO Stephen Scherr. The return to work has already begun for employees in the Asia Pacific and EMEA regions, they noted. While countries like India have struggled with the coronavirus outbreak, parts of Asia have generally fared better in their handling of the emergent epidemics. "For each location, as we further open and scale to capacity, we continue to closely manage the number of people in our buildings on any given day, on a cross-divisional basis," the executives wrote. "And, we continue to strictly adhere to our health and safety protocols and to community guidance as it evolves to sustain a safe working environment." While the pandemic was spreading earlier this year, the bank briefly broke workers up into "blue" and "white" teams that alternated between working out of the office for a week and working from home for a week. Read more: Inside a 38,000-person remote work rollout at Goldman Sachs: sleepless nights, assembly lines, and an Amazon-like hub on a Manhattan trading floor Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo plans to maintain remote work for the bulk of its workers through at least November 1, with the possibility of extending it beyond that depending on circumstances at the time, a spokesperson for the firm told Business Insider. "Through at least November 1, we will continue with our current operating model, which includes about 200,000 employees working from home and maintaining safety measures in locations that remain open," the spokesperson said. Though Wells Fargo has no firm plans for when workers may be called back, the firm said it "will give all employees sufficient notice before making any significant changes." Bank of America
Bank of America told Business Insider that as many as 185,000 members of its workforce (that's roughly 85% of its global employ) have been working from home during the pandemic. "Our plans are for employees to return to their offices in phases," a spokesperson said, with those phases depending on employees' roles, departments, and physical locations. "Over the next couple of months, some employees will return to the office in various locations. This includes some traders," the spokesperson added, noting that "all employees have the option to remain in a work from home posture if they don't feel comfortable returning to work." Bank of America will give employees notice about their scheduled return to the workplace at least 30 days ahead of time, the firm said, noting that it will require the use of face coverings, physical distancing, and other health measures like limiting the number of people in meetings, "to support teammates' ongoing health and wellbeing." Read more: Bank of America's summer internship will be entirely virtual. A talent exec runs through how the bank's 2,000 global interns will learn, network, and volunteer without stepping into an office. Jefferies Financial Group
At Jefferies, a smaller investment bank which has nearly 4,000 workers, CEO Rich Handler and president Brian Friedman have a straightforward message for staff: "If you want to remain working from home, please do so." That's according to a letter that the execs shared on Jefferies' website, announcing plans to maintain remote work through the rest of the year. "At this point, for excellent reasons, the vast majority of us wish to remain working from home for the time being," Handler and Friedman wrote. "We anticipate that a great number of us will continue to be highly successful working from home for the remainder of 2020," they said, adding that "we will assess reality in 2021 based on the concrete medical facts and specific circumstances." The execs said that the firm has recorded a new case among its staff roughly every week, and, in fact, recently impose quarantine measures on employees who came into contact with "someone who tested positive over the weekend for COVID-19." Read more: Inside Jefferies' all-virtual summer internship: 5 weeks of charity work, and guest appearances from the CEOs of Blackstone and Zoom
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