Finance

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon expects the bank’s employees will back in the office ‘within weeks’ and going maskless by October

  • JPMorgan employees will start returning to the office within weeks, Jamie Dimon said Wednesday.
  • The CEO is open to remote work sometimes, as long as it works for the bank and its clients.
  • The firm won’t currently require employees to get vaccines, but that could change down the line.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Wall Street leaders haven’t been shy about expressing their skepticism of remote work. Now, top banks seem to be solidifying their return-to-office plans.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday that he plans to tell employees to be back in the office within weeks, at least for a day or two.

By September, he said, the plan is for half of his corporate workforce to be back full-time, and he expects employees will be maskless in the office by October. He pointed to other jobs that have continued in-person work, like firemen, police officers, sanitation workers, and retail workers, and said that Corporate America may be “overdoing it a little bit” by holding out on remote work.

The comments were made on Wednesday afternoon on a webinar for JPMorgan Wealth Management clients.

Dimon and JPMorgan have been key voices in return-to-office discussions over the past year, with Dimon lamenting that Zoom hinders fast decision-making, eliminates spontaneity, and isn’t useful to young bankers who learn the ropes of Wall Street in an apprenticeship model. The firm is planning to bring some interns to the office this summer.

Other firms like Goldman Sachs are also pushing to bring employees back into the office. Goldman CEO David Solomon said in February that remote work has had “an enormous impact” on how the bank operated and called virtual training for young bankers an “aberration. The following month, Goldman told their summer interns that the program would also be held in person.

Dimon said that he’s been in the JPMorgan office every day since June, adding that when employees at home tell him they’re working, he sometimes has a hard time getting ahold of them.

Despite these gripes, Dimon said that JPMorgan will try to be as flexible as possible and work with employees on scheduling when it makes sense.

He said that pre-pandemic, there were always some employees that weren’t in the office full-time, and that post-pandemic, he expects about 65% of his corporate workforce and 100% of his branch workforce to return to the office. About 30% of employees will work under a hybrid model, he said, which could also include traveling as well as working from home occasionally. The firm will implement more open seating and other measures to accommodate this, Dimon said.

“I think some will say, ‘I like the flexibility,'” he said. “It has to work for the company and the clients. You’ll be asked to come in when your team is there. You’ll ask your team to come in. It can’t be ‘everybody does what they want,’ because it’s so inefficient.”

Dimon also talked about the negative impact remote work has had on the mental health of JPMorgan employees and that working on Zoom has made it harder to get good feedback and has contributed to depression.

Remote work is indeed contributing to widespread junior banker burnout, Insider previously reported. Many firms have offered bonuses to reward bankers pulling 95-hour workweeks in their bedrooms, but JPMorgan said it wasn’t offering perks to employees and would instead focus on hiring more investment bankers to ease the strain, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Dimon says he currently can’t legally require JPMorgan employees to get the coronavirus vaccine, but the firm may in the future if it’s allowed. He noted that multiple universities and businesses are starting to require the vaccine and that he’s encouraging his workforce to get vaccinated.

And while he doesn’t want to force people to return to the office, the bank is “nudging” employees to start planning for the inevitable.

“A lot of people say, ‘I’m not going to go back to work.’ Look at their Instagrams,” Dimon said. “They didn’t get sick from coming into the office. They got sick partying.”

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