In the era of the hybrid style of work, Goldman Sachs‘ Chief Executive David Solomon was one for going back to the basics. He resisted this unavoidable trend and has since insisted on employees returning to work in-person. His emphasis on workers returning to office full time showcases his attitude towards work from home. It’s clear that he looks at remote work as a form of irregularity that is rather unnecessary.
However, Solomon was justifiably disappointed on the day the investment banking company reopened its offices in the US in February 2022. This resumption was following the closure of these offices due to the Omicron wave of Covid-19. To the CEO’s surprise only half of the total number of employees i.e., 5,000 had showed up. In its headquarters at New York, the building of 10,000 workers only saw a turnover of 5,000 people. The other 50% visibly ignored the two weeks’ notice they had surely received.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams had held a town hall meeting earlier this month for the employees of the bank. For long, he had appeared rather adamant to bring all office workers back to the daily bustle of the city. Though the internal meeting was hidden from the press, Adams later gave a statement to the concerned reporters.
He told the media that Goldman had just a “couple of thousand employees” working in person—a far cry from a full return to the office.
A drop of this level in the attendance could have possibly indicated significant trouble for the CEO’s campaign. However, a spokesperson from the banking giant gave different figures of an average of 60% to 70%. This was similar to its occupancy in fall 2021 before the closure for Omicro with 8,000 workers attending. Owing to the CEO’s belief in physical work interactions, more employees are expected to resume full-time work in office. The “ecosystem” of the company includes hiring 3,000 fresher college graduates each year. These graduates imbibe the qualities of the experienced bankers. Remote working becoming the ‘new normal’ would make such learning ineffective.
The impact of the hybrid mode and remote working on career and firm development is still only partly evident. Rivals of Goldman Sachs of Wall Street, mainly Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have also been taking similar steps to bring back workers. On the other hand, groups like UBS and Citigroup retain their faith in the hybrid mode, considering it a positive impact of the pandemic.
With the struggles of the workplace, it is unclear as when we will see adequate occupancy in these offices. Only time will tell as to how far Solomon’s aim to bring back all employees would be fulfilled.