As the return to the office drum continues to beat in banking, distinctions are emerging between banks that are happy for people to work from home all or some of the time and banks that are not.
French bank, BNP Paribas has for example given 132,000 employees the option to work from home for up to 50% of the time, with some European staff only needing to be in the office one day a week. UBS is offering some of its U.S. employees the option to work 100% remotely. Citi is allowing London juniors to work from home two days a week. However, Jamie Dimon says that only 50% of the bank's employees will have the option to work from home some of the time. And Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have indicated a preference for staff to be in the office where possible, even though developers at Goldman say they're working from home and Goldman insiders say they're only expected to be in the office three days a week (something that's seemingly monitored by the bank).
At Bank of America, a memo reportedly went out this week asking people to return to the office on June 1st, with a preference for collaboration in person alongside some flexibility on working from home.
One associate in Bank of America's New York investment banking team said the bank is going to have a problem if it expects people to be in the office a lot. "It's ultimately a losing battle, shoehorning everyone back into the office," he says. "We've been working remotely two or three days a week."
Instead of commanding everyone to come back to the building, he says all banks should be a bit more relaxed. "Culture is difficult to maintain when everyone works remotely," he admits, "But banks need to be adaptive and think outside the box."
Instead of heaving people back into the office, the associate says banks need to get creative about maintaining culture when everyone works from home. "You need to think differently on maintaining culture," he says. "It's hard to have random chats when you work remotely, so there needs to be a coming together in a different way."
He points to tech firms, which have begun running monthly outings for employees who are working from home. "We need weekends away and meals out!," he suggests. "Banks just need to think about how to adapt."
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
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