Wall Street banks have mostly taken a tough stance on plans to return to the office, with many senior executives working from their desks for months and urging reluctant employees to do the same.
They’ve changed their tunes for now.
With the Omicron variant of the coronavirus raging, Bank of America told employees at its New York City offices this week that they can work from home during the holidays, according to a staff memo. The bank, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina but has a huge office in midtown Manhattan, is also providing self-test kits and will host recall clinics in parts of the country in January.
At Deutsche Bank, staff in New York have been encouraged to work from home for the last two weeks of the year, according to an executive who asked not to be identified to discuss staff matters. They will likely continue to work remotely for several weeks until 2022, given the increase in cases, the person said.
Jefferies, a Manhattan investment bank, sent employees home earlier this month as cases increased. Rich Handler, the company’s chief executive, later said on Twitter that he had tested positive and was in self-quarantine. Jefferies was the first Wall Street company to report an elderly victim during the pandemic: Peg Broadbent, the chief financial officer, died of complications from the coronavirus in March 2020.
Wells Fargo also deferred plans to return to the office, citing “the changing external environment” in a memo to staff. âAlmost 100,000 employees entered a Wells Fargo site throughout the pandemic and all sites continue to be available for use by vaccinated employees on a voluntary basis,â the bank said.
JPMorgan told its US employees who do not work in bank branches that “each group should assess who should come to the office” and “who should return to work from home more regularly over the next few weeks.”
Citigroup, which had called people back two days a week starting in September, is giving its staff in New York and New Jersey the ability to work remotely, and Morgan Stanley employees have also been given more flexibility to stay in touch. House. And Goldman Sachs has told its teams to postpone their remaining holiday season.