America’s largest bank is ending pandemic-era hybrid work for its senior staff.
“Our leaders play a critical role in reinforcing our culture and running our businesses,” JPMorgan Chase told staff in a memo. “They have to be visible on the floor, they must meet with clients… and they should always be accessible for immediate feedback and impromptu meetings.”
Wall Street giants like JPMorgan have been among the most vocal proponents of returning to a pre-pandemic office regimen. That was true even in the fall of 2020, before new Covid variants emerged and scuttled banks’ back-to-office plans.
But as infection rates have fallen, bosses across Corporate America have been itching to get their staffs back under one roof.
While there is still no standard way to measure the full extent of remote work, one report from Kastle Systems, which operates card-swipe security machines, said that the weekly average office occupancy rate at the end of March in the most populous U.S. cities was 49% of pre-pandemic levels.
JPMorgan said it would maintain hybrid working options for thousands of employees who are required to have three days in the office. In the memo, the bank issued a warning to staffers who are struggling to hit that minimum.
“There are a number of employees who aren’t meeting their in-office attendance expectations, and that must change,” the note reads, adding that managers would be responsible for taking “corrective action” if employees don’t comply.
Another motivation for JPMorgan: A year ago, the bank unveiled a design for a new global headquarters in New York. The 60-story skyscraper was touted as the city’s “largest all-electric tower with net zero operational emissions.” When it opens in 2025, it’ll have space for 14,000 employees and offer ample public green space along 49th Street and Park Avenue.