It’s a short walk from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s headquarters to Citigroup Inc., but when it comes to reopening after the pandemic, the two towers in Manhattan could be thousands of miles away.
Starting this morning, Goldman Sachs has been demanding almost all of its employees on the Hudson River to attend its tables, marking one of the biggest ambitions for Wall Street to return to work since Covid-19 besieged the city more than a year ago. Meanwhile, Citigroup will no longer remember its employees at the Tribeca Tower in downtown Manhattan until July. Even then, the company has told most employees that they can take a hybrid schedule between home and office in the longer term.
Such disparities are emerging in Manhattan’s powerful financial industry, and pockets of optimism are emerging within the city’s economy, but with widespread anxiety in the workplace. Seniors worry that their teams will not be so competitive if members return. Parents are concerned about losing the flexibility of remote work, but also young and single colleagues who can compete more quickly and deal with managers or clients.
“Women are absolutely nervous,” said Rob Dicks, Accenture Plc’s talent and organization leader in capital markets. “I’m seeing banks’ Human Resources and business leaders begin to know, understand and plan for fairness in assessments.”
However, it is difficult to know whether such issues will take root in the industry to draw broad conclusions, it does not seem that the two companies on Wall Street are taking the same approach. The scene is also unfavorable in London, as many banks are still setting plans.
The main impetus for people to get back to the office quickly, as well as amateur DJ, Goldman CEO David Solomon ended the bank’s release on Friday by releasing a new single called “Learn to Love Me.” until he told them how to get back.
Early in the morning, staff hugged five senior friends and stormed into Goldman’s Manhattan office with a downpour of rain. Free food will welcome you to the cafeteria and plenty of food trucks with music throughout the week. The bank also puts up cafes throughout the building to encourage conversations that the water is cooler, saying some employees are enjoying free refreshments, but are wondering how long they will last.
Atop Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser is offering more flexibility to staff as vaccination campaigns progress, with younger children waiting for shots and some childcare opportunities, such as summer camps, have yet to reopen. The decision on how he handled the process is one of the biggest he has taken since he rose to the top job a few months ago. And when the company starts to make its mark, the situation may provide an early opportunity to differentiate itself as a Citigroup entrepreneur.
While others are moving fast, JPMorgan Chase & Co. it has already begun filling the skyscraper again on Madison Avenue while Park Headquarters is being built. The nation’s largest bank has told all U.S. workers to prepare to return early next month, but the tower will have a 50% occupancy.
Elsewhere in Midtown, senior executives at Bank of America Corp. have begun entering the office. The company does not expect a wider return of employees until the fall.
“We’re concentrating on the insert,” Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, said in an interview with CNBC today. “But we need to make sure that uninserted ones can be returned in a constructive way.”
The bank recently began demanding that workers be made aware of their situation and now there are tens of thousands in the US who have received shootings. These staff are invited back and given 30 days notice to return. Throughout the industry, many are eager to return. Moynihan said he was at a wedding over the weekend and spoke to a “bunch of young kids” who work for the contestants. “They’re tired of working from their rooms.”
Deutsche Bank AG, also offering the opportunity, told investment bankers in New York that they plan to operate from offices after Labor Day in September. Credit Suisse Group AG has told full-fledged employees in New York that they can start returning on Monday as well, although not all employees will continue with full-time office work until September.
“People will generally return to the office,” said Alex Howard-Keyes, vice president of procurement firm Kingsley Gate Partners, which focuses on the financial services industry. “If you take big risks, there will be pressure to return to the office full time. If you have more customers, I think it will be latitude. “
This same division is expected to be played soon in other US industries and cities, as Facebook Inc. from technology giants like General Motors Corp. automotive companies like have promised employees remote work in the future.
In New York, where about 46 percent of residents have been fully immersed since Friday, the fate of the economy lies on Wall Street. The state has long estimated that 1 in 10 of the city’s jobs are directly or indirectly linked to the securities industry, which also accounts for one-fifth of private sector wages in New York.
Behind the scenes, banks and their technology partners are making basic long-term changes to find out how the industry will work. They’re taking advantage of lessons learned when businesses in Manhattan suddenly had to work remotely. It was surprisingly doable.
Now, banks eager to resupply Manhattan towers are working on plans to relocate more of those jobs to other cities – a concept called “distributed trading floor”.
Businesses that once had to be run from New York will be managed by states with increasingly smaller lifestyles, such as Texas, North Carolina and Florida. Many tech talents prefer to live in these places however, said Likhit Wagle, CEO of IBM Corp.’s global banking and financial markets.
“A successful trader needs to be someone who is very adept at taking advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Wagl said. “These types of people are not available in London, New York or Frankfurt. They have strong views on work-life balance, and many have indicated that they are not ready to move. ”
For now, bankers are returning to offices that look very different from what they left in March 2020.
The high plastic fences are split between the tables while some of the chairs in the conference rooms are locked to encourage social distance. They are also common disinfection stations. Masks may not be available for fully vaccinated staff, but daily health checks will be frequent.
Good indoor air quality is now one of the most convenient amenities for corporations that hunt for offices, said Julie Whelan, head of occupational research for the CBRE real estate services company. He jokingly tells us that many customers have become amateur air conditioning specialists, focusing more on access to fitness centers and public transportation in wind systems.
“The things that drove the adoption of the building – all of them are at the bottom of the list,” Whelan said.
(Updates with details reopened to Goldman’s office in paragraph seven.)
-With the help of Sonali Basak and Steve Dickson.