40% of bank execs plan to reduce real estate footprint: survey

Many financial firms considering 3-days-in-office, 2-days-remote model

National /
Jul.July 21, 2020 11:00 AM
A survey by professional services firm Accenture found that about 61% of bank executives don’t expect to call all employees back to the office, and more than 40% of those surveyed are also planning to reduce their real estate footprints accordingly. (iStock)

A survey by professional services firm Accenture found that about 61% of bank executives don’t expect to call all employees back to the office, and more than 40% of those surveyed are also planning to reduce their real estate footprints accordingly. (iStock)

While banks have begun the slow, careful process of returning employees to the office, most executives aren’t expecting everyone to come back.

A survey by professional services firm Accenture found that about 61 percent of bank executives don’t expect to call all employees back to the office. And more than 40 percent of those surveyed are also planning to reduce their real estate footprints accordingly.

Many firms are considering a model in which employees come into the office three days a week and work remotely the other two, as some aspects of the office environment are difficult to replace.

“One of the things the traders have said they miss is that informal dialogue and idea sharing that happens,” Accenture’s capital-markets practice head Laurie McGraw told Bloomberg.

“All of that is gone now. You talk with the people that are on your meeting schedule for the day for the most part. And the fluidity of idea exchange is missing in a lot of cases.”

Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase had to pause plans to return workers to the office in Columbus, Ohio, as cases in the state jumped. Citigroup says it is unlikely to return even half of its workers to the office until a vaccine is available.

For office landlords, increased space requirements per employee may offset the decreased number of employees somewhat.

“They’re having to shut down every other desk, and the traders on the trading floor are all spread out,” McGraw said. “You almost need the same amount of space to bring half your staff back in a socially distant way.” [Bloomberg] — Kevin Sun


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