Some Wall Street firms' return-to-office plans have hit a speed bump. Here's how Chase, Wells Fargo, and Deutsche Bank are navigating a spike in coronavirus cases.

FILE PHOTO: Jamie Dimon, chairman & CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co., is pictured on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo
Wall Street firms like are grappling with how to bring workers back to the office amid the ongoing winter wave of infections.
Reuters

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  • Executives at Chase, Wells Fargo, and Deutsche Bank are among those on Wall Street grappling with the threat presented by a surge in coronavirus infections as winter approaches.
  • Surveys have shown that workers report fear and high levels of stress about physically heading back to the office.
  • Here's a look at Wall Street firms' timelines for calling workers back, some of which are starting now, and others which won't kick in till 2021.
  • Are you a finance industry professional who is concerned about going back to work? Contact this reporter confidentially at rhodkin@dyycg.com.
  • Visit Business Insider's 合约数字币和虚拟币homepage for more stories.

Wall Street's plans to get employees back to work are starting to be slowed by an intense surge in coronavirus infections that has gripped the United States.

Indeed, as more of the nation experiences targeted lockdowns or imposes measures like curfews in an effort to curtail the explosive spread of coronavirus cases, some financial institutions are issuing general guidance to keep employees 合约数字币和虚拟币home.

Chase Bank, the retail banking arm of JPMorgan, recently told its US employees that "most US employees working remotely today will continue to do so at least through the end of March," in a statement sent internally in November. 

And, in a memo reviewed by Business Insider, Deutsche Bank told some front-office personnel from its investment-banking group based in the US that they too should work from 合约数字币和虚拟币home until further notice, after it had started incrementally bringing some of them back. 

Read more: results of a survey released in October which was conducted by Envoy, a tech company that works with firms like Hulu, Slack, and Stripe. 

What's more, as many as 80% of Americans remain uneasy about doing "normal" activities outside of the safety of their 合约数字币和虚拟币homes as the pandemic rolls on, according to a survey conducted by consulting firm McKinsey, the results of which were released in early November.

In the lead up to the holidays, companies across a variety of industries have begun encouraging their employees to limit their potential exposure to the coronavirus, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. 

Earlier in the summer and fall, some Wall Street employers were itching to get teams back to the office, but the winter surge could upend those plans, with cases edging closer toward 200,000 per day in the United States, according to mid-November case counts from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. 

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 rhodkin@dyycg.com.

JPMorgan Chase

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, in this October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Reuters

In mid-November, management at Chase Bank sent an internal update to employees advising them that Chase would keep people on its US team 合约数字币和虚拟币home through at least the end of March. 

"With cases on the rise in many parts of the US, our intent is that most US employees working remotely today will continue to do so at least through the end of March," the memo read. It also thanked employees for their tenacity through a difficult year. 

A spokesperson for Chase did not specify additional details about the bank's return-to-office plans beyond the memo. 

The guidance pertains to people working in Chase branches across the US, as well as specific personnel working in operations. 

Chase's parent firm, JPMorgan, was one of the banks that had a more strident stance on bringing employees back to work earlier this year. Wall Street's largest bank by assets planned to bring workers back to offices in New York City and parts of Europe and Asia in the fall, with plans to cap off building capacity at 50%, Business Insider reported in September. 

Executives at the bank reportedly had told employees on the bank's sales and trading teams that they expect their staff back in the office by September 21, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal on September 10.

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 合约数字币和虚拟币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," Pinto said, "you may be working one week a month from 合约数字币和虚拟币home, or two days a week from 合约数字币和虚拟币home, or two weeks a month."

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank
A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt
Kai Pfaffenbach/REUTERS

After making some plans to bring front-office personnel, like investment bankers in the US, back to work gradually, Deutsche Bank decided to send them 合约数字币和虚拟币home last week, in a memo sent to staff by Matthias Krause, Deutsche's chief of staff.

"Some of our front-office teams have been slowly returning to the office with increased hygiene and social distancing protocols in place," Krause wrote in the memo, which was reviewed by Business Insider. "However, we have unfortunately seen a number of colleagues impacted by Covid in New York in the past 24 hours, and also in Brazil," he added.

The news of Deutsche's updated guidance was first reported by Bloomberg.

Krause went on to reiterate that the well-being of Deutsche's staff was of paramount importance to the bank, and that, "as such, we have decided that front office staff in the Investment Bank in the Americas will work from 合约数字币和虚拟币home until further notice."

He added that the bank is remaining vigilant by adhering to contact tracing protocols and informing people who have been affected that they could be at risk.

At the same time, Deutsche is reportedly considering allowing employees to work from 合约数字币和虚拟币home two days a week going forward, a policy that will be contingent on legislators' forthcoming policies surrounding remote work in several countries, Bloomberg first reported on Tuesday. A representative for Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on Tuesday, in regard to the bank's reported plans. 

However, a spokesperson for Deutsche Bank told Bloomberg that "we are exploring what positive lessons Deutsche Bank can learn from the Covid-19 crisis about how we can work as a bank in the future," and that the bank is "developing a hybrid model that will combine working from 合约数字币和虚拟币home as well as in the office." 

In its report, Bloomberg also noted that the bank will have to think through "regulatory questions" surrounding extended work from 合约数字币和虚拟币home, and that the policy wouldn't apply equally to all staff across the board. It was not immediately clear on Tuesday which divisions or localities would be immediately affected or eligible to take advantage of the offering.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank doesn't have concrete plans in place yet to require employees in New York City to return to the office until at least July 2021, when Deutsche will move into its new offices at Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The decision was first reported by the Wall Street Journal in September.

Citigroup

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
Reuters

Citigroup planned to phase 30% of its workforce in the tristate area back into the office by October 5, a spokesperson told Business Insider in September. That equates to more than 5,200 staffers out of the firm's 17,500-strong workforce based in the region.

The company is issuing what it calls "invitations" to workers to return, with the option for them to decline going back if they're concerned.

A spokesperson for Citi did not return a request for comment from Business Insider regarding updates on return-to-office plans on Thursday.

The spokesperson said that the firm has issued a survey to its tristate employees to evaluate their interest to go back; it has been sent to workers across various departments, irrespective of whether they are bankers or traders, or back-office operations personnel. 

Nationwide, Citi is monitoring local public health data to decide when and how to invite workers back in other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, CEO Michael Corbat had been working out of his 合约数字币和虚拟币home near Jackson, Wyo., throughout the pandemic, The New York Times reported in September. 

Corbat plans to head back to New York in the coming weeks to coincide with Citi's gradual return to the office, the spokesperson said in September. He is planning to work out of the office.

Goldman Sachs

FILE PHOTO: The Goldman Sachs company logo is seen in the company's space on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
Reuters

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 in early September by the firm's top leadership: CEO David Solomon, president John Waldron, and CFO Stephen Scherr.

On Thursday, a source familiar with the bank's return-to-office plans said they have remained unchanged from September. 

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 合约数字币和虚拟币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

FILE PHOTO: A Wells Fargo logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Reuters

Wells Fargo has extended its plan to maintain remote work for the bulk of its employees through at least February 1, a spokesperson told Business Insider in an emailed statement on Friday.

This decision is an extension of the firm's existing policy to keep roughly 200,000 workers 合约数字币和虚拟币home as the pandemic continues, which Business Insider first reported in September.

"We do not yet know when we'll return to a more traditional operating model," the spokesperson said. "We will give all employees sufficient notice before making any significant changes, and we continue to create a thoughtful, phased plan for returning to the workplace."

Bank of America

FILE PHOTO: A Bank of America logo is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
Reuters

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 合约数字币和虚拟币home during the pandemic.

"Our plans are for employees to return to their offices in phases," a spokesperson told Business Insider in September, 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 合约数字币和虚拟币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."

A spokesperson for Bank of America did not return a request for comment from Business Insider regarding updates on return-to-office plans on Thursday.

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

Jefferies
Richard Drew/Associated Press

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: Coming back to the office is optional — not a requirement.

"Our offices are open for those who want to use them (with our specific safety and social-distancing procedures that must be followed)," Handler and Friedman wrote to staff in an open letter posted to the Jefferies website, "but we remain steadfast that everybody at Jefferies will make their own decisions regarding where to work, without any direct or indirect pressure." 

In a separate letter released in early September, the two executives wrote that they expected that much of their workforce would "continue to be highly successful working from 合约数字币和虚拟币home for the remainder of 2020," and that they would "assess reality in 2021 based on the concrete medical facts and specific circumstances."

The most recent letter is a reiteration of that message: Jefferies' staff may stay 合约数字币和虚拟币home indefinitely if they prefer. "The weather will get colder in most places we operate and force more people inside," Handler and Friedman added, hinting at the possibility of an intense surge of coronavirus cases as temperatures begin to drop in the northern hemisphere. 

"Choose what is right for you and your family to remain safe and comfortable."

The executives also noted earlier in September that the firm has recorded a new case among its staff roughly every week.

A source familiar with the bank's return-to-office plans told Business Insider they remain unchanged, and that no formal policy was created for Thanksgiving. 

Read more: Inside Jefferies' all-virtual summer internship: 5 weeks of charity work, and guest appearances from the CEOs of Blackstone and Zoom

Learn more about the financial services industry.

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

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SEE ALSO: Blackstone is encouraging US workers to return to the office after Labor Day, and that's putting some employees on edge