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Goldman Sachs on Sunday asked its U.S. employees to work from home for the first two weeks of the year, joining rivals on Wall Street who had previously given similar instructions as cases of the coronavirus increased.
Employees who can work remotely are expected to do so until Jan. 18 in response to rising infection rates, the investment bank said in an email to the employees. The policy change came after the Wall Street firm announced new recall and testing requirements last week but, unlike many of its peers, did not encourage staff to work from home.
Goldman recalled most workers to the office in June, and its chief executive, David M. Solomon, is a strong supporter of office work. The bank has 43,000 employees, many of whom are based at its Manhattan headquarters.
New York state recorded more than 85,000 new cases of the coronavirus on the last day of 2021, the state’s highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. The Omicron variant prompted big Wall Street companies, which were keen to bring back workers, to delay those plans.
Before the last wave, office attendance had remained stubbornly low as bankers staged a silent revolt: parents still fear passing the virus on to their children, suburban dwellers avoid long journeys, and many workers have shown that they were able to be productive while working from home.
As workers return, the financial sector, which employs 332,100 people in New York City, may also need to step up its vaccination efforts. Eric Adams, who was sworn in as New York mayor early Saturday, said he would maintain his predecessor’s tenure in the private sector.
Goldman currently requires people entering its buildings to be vaccinated, and starting February 1, all eligible employees will need a reminder to receive one. He had previously announced that from January 10, staff entering the office would be tested for the virus twice a week at on-site testing centers, moving from a current requirement of once a week.
JPMorgan Chase has given staff the option to work from home for the first two weeks of the year, but wants them to return to work schedules no later than February 1, according to a memo sent to employees last week.
The bank can also change its vaccination policy, which it has not requested so far.
âGovernment-issued vaccination warrants can probably make it difficult or impossible for us to continue employing unvaccinated employees, so getting the vaccine is very important,â the memo reads. The bank may soon also require a recall for people entering its buildings.
Citigroup has extended remote working to its US employees.
âWe ask that you work from home during the first few weeks of the New Year if you are able to do so,â the bank said in a note to staff Thursday. “We will continue to monitor the data and provide an update in January on when we expect to be back in the office.”
This directive applied to employees of more than 30 offices across the country who had been recalled since September. Employees in New York and New Jersey already had the option of working from home in the last few weeks of the year.
Wells Fargo has postponed its return to the office, while employees at Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank have been given more leeway to work remotely during the holidays.