The CEO of Goldman Sachs signaled his determination to get his bankers back behind his office desks, calling the house’s work an “aberration” that must be corrected “as soon as possible”.
Although the bank operated successfully during the Covid crisis with less than 10% of its 34,000 global staff working in the bank’s offices, David Solomon shattered the hopes of any Goldman staff by hoping to split the time between their homes and offices in the future, saying it did not represent a “new normal” for the company.
“It’s a temporary thing. I think for a job like ours, which is an innovative culture of collaborative apprenticeship, this is not ideal for us. And it’s not a new norm. It’s an aberration that we will correct as soon as possible,” he said at a virtual conference. led by Credit Suisse.
The comments contradict the relaxed image that Goldman’s new boss has been trying to portray since taking office as CEO in late 2018.
Solomon, who has been as DJ D-Sol for months, is known for avoiding Wall Street’s stifling reputation, even loosening the investment bank’s dress code to make suits and ties optional.
Although he acknowledged that the pandemic had helped the bank move most of its online business, Solomon said he was preparing to return to the office. “In the end, I strongly believe in a personal connection in a company like ours and I don’t think we are coming out of a pandemic, the whole way of working – the way a company like ours does – will be very different. “
Views on teleworking after the Covid crisis are slowly dividing the corporate world. Earlier this week, credit giant HSBC revealed it was taking advantage of the rapidly growing popularity of working from home by reducing its office space by 40%, while rival Lloyds announced it would reduce its own office footprint by a fifth.
Lloyds ’decision was made after 77% of Lloyds’ 68,000 employees said they wanted to work from home three or more days a week in the future.
According to a recent survey by Robert Half employees, 89% of companies expect hybrid work – with staff divided between home and office – to become permanent after a pandemic.
But Solomon said he is particularly concerned about how to train the next generation of bankers if most staff work from home. “I’m very focused on the fact that I don’t want another class of young people arriving in Goldman Sachs at a distance in the summer … who don’t have more direct contact, direct internships and direct mentoring.”
Chief Goldman is not alone. His Wall Street rival JP Morgan also expressed concern about the impact of working from home, including a lack of mentoring for young staff and a small drop in productivity on Mondays and Fridays. However, the lender still expects up to 30% of its nearly 257,000 global employees to work remotely in the future, at least part of the time.
Barclays chief Jes Staley also withdrew from statements made last April when declaring the day to house 7,000 people in one building was “perhaps a thing of the past”.
Speaking to reporters last week, Staley described working at home as “getting old”. “I am looking forward to welcoming colleagues back to the office. That will surely happen sometime this year. “
Goldman, meanwhile, is still asking its British staff to work from home in line with government guidelines. Only critical staff who cannot work remotely travel to work, which means that 5-10% of its 6,000 British workers have a job on any given day.