In the past year, Wall Street banks have been the most aggressive in trying to get worker back in the office more frequently. However, that has come with a series of starts and stops amid employee pushback and new COVID-19 waves. Firms worried about retention and the competition for talent were hesitant to push too hard. That dynamic is shifting.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are clearing the way for workers to return to the office, a signal to many that this time may be different than earlier pushes. Bank of America, for its part, is also trying to push employees back to the office while also formalizing more flexibility than in the past.
However, striking the right balance between requiring in-person workplace attendance and offering flexibility is tricky. Jefferies Financial Group, for example, asked employees to show up in its offices on a “more consistent basis.” However, the firm also said it has no problem with workers being remote from time to time and noted that it won’t be monitoring how often employees swipe their badges to enter its buildings. Other firms, like Citi, are trying to formalize hybrid work arrangements. Citi wants workers in the office three days a week.
Despite the renewed emphasis on in-person work, firms still likely recognize they need to remain flexible, says PwC’s Bhushan Sethi, who is joint global leader for people and organization at the firm.