Wall Street banks keeping NYC employees home as Covid surges

J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs employees remote for first few weeks of 2022

Top banks keeping NYC employees home from Wall Street amid Covid surge
Work from home continues (iStock)

Good news for those on Wall Street who love working from home: Some firms are extending their work-from-home policies.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are among the banks to announce in recent days they are giving employees the option to work from home for the first few weeks of 2022, the New York Times reported.

Citigroup and Bank of America are also keeping their people away from offices in the first few weeks of January, encouraging staff to log on remotely as New York City endured a surge in Covid-19 infections, Bloomberg previously reported.

JPMorgan’s announcement pushes back the company’s previously announced plans to bring employees back to the office, but the firm reportedly doesn’t expect the policy to last long.

“We are not changing our long-term plans of working in the office,” the firm told staff in a memo Dec. 30. “However, with the increase in holiday travel and gatherings, we are allowing for more flexibility during the first two weeks of January to work from home (if your role allows) at your manager’s discretion.”

In-office schedules are expected to resume by Feb. 1, the memo said.

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Citigroup and Bank of America allowed New York City staff to work remotely over the holidays, according to Bloomberg. Then, in a Dec. 30 memo, Citigroup asked employees in those offices to work from home for the first few weeks of January.

“We will continue to monitor the data and provide an update in January on when we expect to be back in the office,” Citigroup wrote, according to Bloomberg.

This isn’t the first time the pandemic has upended plans for office returns. In mid-2021, a nationwide surge in cases and the spread of the delta coronavirus variant caused several companies to postpone their plans to be back in the office by Labor Day.

Major employees again had to adjust their plans for in-person work after the omicron variant caused New York City Covid cases to skyrocket in recent weeks. The firms faced additional pressure from New York City’s private-sector vaccine mandate, which new Mayor Eric Adams said he plans to carry on from the previous administration.

Jefferies Financial Group asked staff to work remotely and get a vaccine booster by the end of the month, Bloomberg reported. Morgan Stanley told employees who had to work in-office to limit large in-person meetings and wear masks when they are away from their desks.

Meanwhile, Goldman and JPMorgan told staff that it would mandate booster vaccinations and double tests twice a week.

[NYT] — Cordilia James