Other banks have adopted similar plans. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has requested that 50% of its dealmakers be in the office on a given workday, up from 25% previously. The increased presence started Monday in London and Tuesday in New York with bankers working from home or the office on alternating weeks.
Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG are also boosting the number of employees returning to their London offices.
Despite increasing numbers of bankers returning to their desks, the Bank of England isn’t expecting normal office life to return anytime soon.
“It’s actually not possible to bring lots of people back very suddenly,” Alex Brazier, executive director of financial stability at the central bank, said at a parliamentary hearing last week. Safely distancing on public transport is one issue while distancing guidelines mean office space can’t be used as intensely.
“We should expect a more phased return depending on the public health outcomes we see over the coming weeks and months,” he said.
Such constraints mean the precise nature of the future working environment remains an open question even as some signs of normality return. In London, the number of cars, pedestrians and cyclists counted in the capital between Aug. 24 and Aug. 30 were back at pre-lockdown levels according to experimental data from the Office for National Statistics.
Here’s a variety of approaches that companies across the finance industry have announced.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.: The Wall Street firm has asked half of its investment bankers to come into its London and New York offices each day under a rotation program. They will work from the office for one week at a time before swapping over. Daniel Pinto, chief executive officer of the corporate and investment bank, said in a June interview he envisioned JPMorgan’s staff working in rotations with about a third logged on remotely at any time—although it’s unlikely anyone will always work remotely.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.: The investment bank sent invitations to hundreds of senior staff to return to its London offices in recent weeks. The firm is offering staff incentives such as free food, protective gear and access to on-site nursery, although the return to the office is voluntary, Financial News reported Aug. 27. “We continue to take a people first approach and stay consistent with U.K. government guidelines,” a spokesman said in a statement.
Bank of New York Mellon Corp.: BNY Mellon has told the majority of its employees to continue working remotely for the rest of the year, postponing previous plans to have some staff return in September. About 96% of the bank’s roughly 48,000 employees have been working remotely since March. They’ll continue to do so until at least January, a spokeswoman confirmed Aug. 26.
Citigroup Inc.: After bringing about 5% of employees back to its New York headquarters earlier this summer, Citigroup delayed similar plans for workers in U.S….