Morgan Stanley CEO Admits Being Wrong On Return To Office
USA –Morgan Stanley’s boss told CNBC that he has made a mistake in expecting that more staff would be able to return to their workplaces, reported The New York Times on Saturday (18 December, SGT).
“I was wrong. I thought we would have been out of it (working from home) past Labour Day,” Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman, when asked about workers returning to the office.
But with new COVID-19 cases across the United States spiking by 40 percent to over 120,000 on average per day compared to 3 weeks ago, employers are now reversing their decision to let more workers return.
In New York City, cases have exceeded that of last winter. Consequently, companies that have been reopening offices, as well as requiring or strongly encouraging workers to return have scaled down their plans for in-person business and socialising.
For instance, investment bank Jefferies instructed its 4,542 staff to work from home (WFH) as more of its workers contracted COVID-19.
“Since the start of December, Jefferies has experienced nearly 40 new COVID cases,” stated its President Brian Friedman and Chief Executive Rich Handler in a memo to employees last week. They also said that staff returning to the office or attending its events must get a booster shot by the end of January 2022.
Similarly, Goldman Sachs informed its workers to postpone their remaining holiday parties, while JPMorgan Chase said its health care conference will be held online.
Citigroup, which had let its staff return to the office 2 days per week since September, announced that its employees in New Jersey and New York have the option to work remotely. As for Morgan Stanley, its employees were given more flexibility to work from their home.
For months, the financial sector had been confident in the safety of in-person work. In October, an average of 27 percent of their staff went to the office every day in New York City. And that figure was initially projected to increase to 47 percent by the end of January 2022, said Partnership for New York City. However, some financial companies are starting to backtrack.
“Despite all best efforts, COVID is really forcing a rollback of plans. The contagion factor with omicron has meant that people are going to hunker down again,” said Kathryn Wylde, Head of business group Partnership for New York City.