Source: Morgan Stanley
Although the pandemic has changed the world order, particularly in how work is done globally, with the popularization of remote working, which has been the order of the day since 2020, some Wall Street workers received the bluntest message yet about a return to work. James Gorman, the chairman and CEO of investment giant Morgan Stanley has given his staff the clearest of terms: a “be back by Labor Day” instruction. “Be back by Labor Day, or we’ll have a different kind of conversation,” he said.
According to Gorman, at this point, there are no excuses for continued absence from work, especially seeing as the lockdown has wholly or partly been eased in most cities. In his words, “If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office, and we want you in the office.” Gorman, whose firm’s wealth management division currently ranks as the third-largest in the U.S. by assets, outlined his posture in remarks during an investing conference webcast on Monday.
Gorman also explained that employees who continue working in different parts of the country with a lower cost of living should not expect to draw their big city salaries still. According to him, employees who want to get paid New York rates should work in New York. “None of this ‘I’m in Colorado and working in New York and getting paid like I’m in New York. Sorry, that doesn’t work,’” Gorman said.
He stressed that physical proximity to co-workers is essential for cultivating positive workplace culture, creativity, collaboration and intern training through example and collaboration.
According to the company, workers are being invited back because the company is set to use a hybrid model over the summer. Employees manage issues such as child care and the need to be at home with their children. Gorman, however, assures that every employee situation will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Gorman is not the only CEO who is persuading employees to return to their desks. The CEO of Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, referred to working from home as an aberration. He has reportedly instructed the company’s employees to report their vaccination status to the company by noon. Similarly, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase said to a Wall Street Journal online conference that “remote work doesn’t work for those who want to hustle. It doesn’t work for spontaneous idea generation. It doesn’t work for culture.”
As vaccinations have fully rolled out, consumers are beginning to visit restaurants, attend events, and travel again. And as a result of these, business leaders, especially those in the financial service industry, are eager to bring their workforce back to something similar to pre-pandemic operations. However, tech companies are taking a lighter albeit different approach.
An example is Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, who said most Google employees would work in the office three days a week and 20% of the workforce would continue to work remotely. Following employee and public backlash, Uber is reportedly considering relaxing its three-day-a-week on-site work policy by allowing a sizable percentage of the workforce to continue to work remotely. Also, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is credited with saying that remote work is the future, and earlier this month, he announced that nearly all Facebook employees could work remotely as long as their managers approve.
Opinions expressed by CEO Weekly contributors are their own.