Business as usual for JP Morgan as it tells staff to remain in office
Wall Street bank takes different tack to many City rivals as it lets teams decide-working guidance
JP MORGAN has told staff who have returned to the office to keep coming in, despite a new Government call to work from home.
In a memo sent to its 19,000 UK workers late on Wednesday night, the Wall Street bank said that following new government guidance to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, it would halt plans to bring more people back to the office but did not say it would be sending people home.
Staff were told: “Whatever your established working pattern, you should continue to follow the direction you have been given by your management team and listen out for any potential changes.”
The note suggests it is taking a different tack to many City rivals, which have told workers to be more cautious following advice that office staff should work from home if they can.
Rather than ordering all staff who can work from home to return to their living rooms, the bank has allowed each team in the business to assess its needs individually, “taking into account government guidance”.
It is understood that team managers will tell staff of any changes to working arrangements in coming days.
The bank, which employs about 12,000 people in London and also has offices in Bournemouth, has been bringing workers back to the office in a three tier system.
Employees in tier one – such as traders – can do their jobs more effectively in the office and returned first.
The majority of workers are still at home, but some back office staff who were part of the third lowest priority group, have begun to spend some time in the office on a rotational
‘Whatever your established working pattern, you should continue to follow the direction given’
basis. JP Morgan’s guidance suggests that at least some of those employees could continue to spend part of their week in the office despite the Prime Minister’s plea for office workers to stay home if possible.
The bank has placed more than 31,000 stickers around its offices to direct staff and ensure social distancing rules are observed. Its offices will remain open “on an ad hoc basis” to staff who are working from home full time if they need to come in.
Extra cleaning and temperature checks will remain in place to protect those who do come to work and staff should raise any concerns with their manager, the memo said.
JP Morgan declined to comment. While many City firms such as PwC and HSBC have halted drives to bring people back, others have taken a more flexible approach.
Citigroup told London workers to “exercise their judgment” on whether they need to come to the office.
Lloyd’s of London, the insurance market, sent its own staff home but is keeping its underwriting room open so that insurers and brokers can negotiate face to face. The market moved entirely online during lockdown.
Google, meanwhile, has revealed that most of its staff would like to return to the office on some days after Covid. One fifth of the Silicon Valley giant’s staff said that they did not need to be in the office at all in a survey in May, but by July, this number had halved to 10pc, with 62pc of workers saying they needed to be in the office some days to do their work well.
Its chief executive – Sundar Pichai, named as one of Time’s 100 most influential people, told the magazine that he saw the future as being more flexible.