Goldman Sachs asks all its employees to return to the office, 50% attend

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With the decline in coronavirus cases in the United States, the investment bank Goldman Sachs decided to reopen its New York offices last February and demanded that their employees return to their face-to-face positions. The CEO of the company, David Salomon, had been insisting for months that he had not just seen teleworking, a model that the manager considers a “temporary aberration” as a consequence of the pandemic. However, his employees do not seem to agree with that opinion, since the day of the reopening of the facilities only about 5,000 of the more than 10,000 who work there showed up, according to Fortune.

A circumstance that was not due to a communication error, since according to the American magazine all the employees were perfectly informed of the reopening, but rather to a kind of rebellion against the obligation of the workers to return to the office.

Goldman Sachs spokespersons have explained that, despite the low attendance on the first day, employees returned in greater numbers throughout the first week of reopening, reaching between 70 and 80% of the occupation of its massive 44-story Manhattan headquarters. However, these figures are still far from what Salomon intended, which was nothing more than the return of his entire workforce to the office five days a week.

The CEO of the US bank believes that an important part of the company’s success is bring together highly qualified workers in the same space those who collaborate under the same roof benefits. And he thinks that dispersing them, although it works temporarily, as they have shown your record earnings in 2021it ends up eroding teams and undermining what makes Goldman Sachs unique.

At the start of the pandemic, Goldman Sachs sent 98% of its workforce from around the world to work from home. In America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in mid-March, in Asia even earlier. And when infections began to decline after each wave before omicron, it was more flexible than other companies in the sector and did not demand the immediate return of its employees to the offices. Although, in parallel, managers like Salomon were already thinking that the future of the company was neither remote nor hybrid, but fundamentally face-to-face.

No information has been released about the reasons that these 5,000 workers argued for not responding to the company’s call, nor the consequences that their contempt could have. It is also not known whether, given this circumstance, Goldman Sachs will rethink its policy of a strict return to face-to-face attendance.

Our debate of each wave

The situation that is now taking place at Goldman Sachs is neither new nor exclusive to the US bank. The debate about teleworking is a kind of yo-yo that comes and goes depending on the epidemiological situation in the world. It moves away almost to the ground when coronavirus infections skyrocket and we have it on our hands again when cases drop. Now that ómicron seems to have given us a truce, companies have to tackle the issue again, and the disparity of criteria between managers and employees is evident one more time.

One of the companies that had the most problems due to teleworking was Apple, which between the summer and autumn of 2021 led to a loud disagreement between managers and employees that ended with the departure of some professionals to other companies in the sector. Apple workers considered then that they had shown that they could work remotely with the same effectiveness as in the offices, but those responsible for the company, with Tim Cook at the helm, had a different opinion. The controversy, finally, was temporarily resolved by delta and omicron.

From embracing remote work to reluctantly resorting to it: 2021 has shown what Big Tech really thinks of remote work

Google have also announced up to four times that their employees had to return to the offices at least three days a week, with which they have been somewhat more flexible in their demands despite the fact that have made it clear that attendance is also the preferred model across all Alphabet companies.

Other companies, such as Microsoft or Amazon, have chosen to allow remote working until the situation is really controlled, so as not to change the model every six months. While Salesforce decided to change its policy permanently in February 2021, regardless of what happens through the pandemic, and offer three options: hybrid, fully remote or in the office. Meta, Twitter and Spotify, for their part, have announced that their employees can work remotely forever.

However, the sectors in which these technology companies and Goldman Sachs work are different, and among many financial companies the option of returning to the office is being imposedin some with the flexibility of a hybrid model, but in others with the return to the office five days a week, especially among the greats of Wall Street, according to Bloomberg.

In addition, the mayor of New York, Eric Adams, headquarters of these companies, asked a few weeks ago to the companies in the city that their workers return to the offices, since, in their opinion, empty buildings were holding back recovery from the pandemic in the city.

Image | ArlingtonResearch

With the decline in coronavirus cases in the United States, the investment bank Goldman Sachs decided to reopen its New…

With the decline in coronavirus cases in the United States, the investment bank Goldman Sachs decided to reopen its New…

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