return to the office

The Junior Bankers Are Winning

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While tech, media, and other industries have taken a permissive, laid-back approach to returning to the office — in March, for example, Apple told workers they’d have to come back one day a week starting April 11, eventually ramping up to three days a week — the finance industry has been staunchly committed to a full-on five-day-a-week return. Junior bankers rebelling? Goldman Sachs is unmoved (its chief executive has called remote work “an aberration”). But that kind of resolve is starting to crumble. This week, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who once told The Wall Street Journal, “People don’t like commuting, but so what?,” is giving up on the five-day week for office workers, Crain’s reports. “It’s clear that working from home will become more permanent in American business,” Dimon wrote in the annual shareholder letter on Monday.

JPMorgan Chase said that it will only expect workers whose jobs cannot be done remotely — retail branch, security and facilities workers — to show up in person full time. That’s about half of the bank’s workforce. Another 40 percent will be able to work within a hybrid model and come in a few times a week, and, finally, 10 percent will be able to work from home entirely.

Other finance firms, after initially taking a hard-line approach to the five-day office week, have also backed off in recent months. In February, BNY Mellon and American Express both tempered March call-backs with hybrid work options. Citi has been back on a two-day-a-week schedule since September. Now the majority of financial institutions have given in to workers’ demands for remote options, even if “in private, many senior bank executives tasked with raising attendance among their direct reports expressed irritation,” according to a January story in the New York Times.

JPMorgan is still moving ahead with plans for its new headquarters at 270 Park Avenue, which is expected to accommodate 12,000 to 14,000 workers, but the seating is going to be flexible, like the workforce. Who is left now that even JPMorgan has given up on returning to the five-day-a-week model? Goldman Sachs, pretty much. Even Eric Adams, a return-to-the-office hard-liner, has softened his stance in recent months.

The Junior Bankers Are Winning