JPMorgan analysts' year-long sojourn away from the office is finally coming to an end. After months of reassuring the press (and the bank's commercial real-estate clients) that it sees "collaborative" work in an office as a permanent feature of working at JP Morgan. CEO Jamie Dimon even went so far as to commission a study "proving" that working in an office fosters a level of "creative collaboration" that's difficult to replicate from home.
And as bankers have trickled back into JPM's towers in NYC and London over the past few months, their colleagues have just received their final notice. CNBC reports that by May 17, the bank expects to have all its workers back at the office on a part-time basis (as the bank must still contend with building occupancy limits set at 50%).
"We would fully expect that by early July, all U.S.-based employees will be in the office on a consistent rotational schedule, also subject to our current 50% occupancy cap," the bank said in a memo, reported earlier by Bloomberg News. "With this timeframe in mind you should start making any needed arrangements to help with your successful return."
On the subject of vaccination, Dimon said last week that the bank can't require workers to be vaccinated before returning to the office, a policy that's almost guaranteed to elicit complaints from workers worried about being in an "unsafe environment" by being forced to make contact with the unvaccinated.
CNBC's Hugh Son shared the internal JPM memo announcing the return to work.
Throughout the pandemic, our buildings and branches in the U.S. have remained open and have safely operated for our essential employees, to whom we remain incredibly grateful. In our previous message, we said that we were looking forward to having more of you back in the office during the spring and summer months. As the U.S. surpasses its goal of more than 200 million COVID-19 vaccinations administered and more cities and states lift restrictions, we will open our U.S. offices to all employees on Monday, May 17 subject to our current 50% occupancy cap.
We are welcoming more of you back next month so that you can get comfortable with being back in an office environment. Understanding that this may take some time, we would fully expect that by early July, all U.S.-based employees will be in the office on a consistent rotational schedule, also subject to our current 50% occupancy cap. With this timeframe in mind you should start making any needed arrangements to help with your successful return. Each line of business will work with their managers and location leaders to determine an appropriate schedule. Our branches and offices outside of the U.S. will continue to follow their established processes.
As we welcome you back in the coming months, you should be confident that we will continue to:
- Follow all government restrictions and mandates and be prepared to pause or reverse your return if needed.
- Maintain a 50% occupancy cap — at least until the CDC revises its social distancing guidelines.
- Practice our industry-recognized health and safety protocols, including our high standards of cleaning and air filtration, mask wearing and daily health check requirements.
- Provide information and resources to help you get vaccinated because we know that getting vaccinated means less risk of spreading the virus to our families, friends and colleagues. It is also important to note that while we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated, a vaccination is not required in order to return to the office at this time.
- Provide training and resources to help you navigate the new office environment.
More details on returning to the office will be provided in the coming days and weeks to help you prepare. We know that you have questions, and many answers can be found in the links below.
JPM's target date ranks it among the more aggressive Wall Street firms; Wells Fargo doesn't expect to have workers back until September.
But JPM wasn't the only major American corporation to announce plans to recall workers to the office. Exxon is moving its workers in Houston back to the office full time by May 17 as well.