JPMorgan Chase & Co. told thousands of office workers across its consumer unit they can plan to continue working remotely until next year, breaking with the firm’s Wall Street operations, which mandated that senior traders return to work.
The directive, which was communicated to staff in several memos Monday, applies to most U.S.-based employees in the consumer unit who have been working remotely to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. It excludes branch workers and some in operations, according to a person briefed on the staffing plans. The consumer and community banking unit, which operates primarily in the U.S., has 122,089 employees, the most of any of the firm’s divisions.
“Generally, anyone working remotely today will continue to do so through the end of the year, assuming we can maintain productivity levels,” according to one of the memos, which was seen by Bloomberg. “Our overall productivity levels have remained high. That’s remarkable and something that should make us all proud.”Subscribe to Bull Sheet for no-nonsense daily analysis on what’s happening in the markets, delivered free to your inbox.
A spokeswoman declined to comment.
Roughly 25% of the firm’s workers, including branch staff, have returned in the New York area, said the person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing internal plans. Many of JPMorgan’s other locations remain closed. Over the summer, the biggest U.S. bank had plans to return office workers to outposts in Columbus, Ohio — home to the bank’s biggest U.S. office building — then suspended them indefinitely after coronavirus cases jumped.
JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has made the case for a broader return to work, saying his firm has seen “alienation” among younger workers and that an extended stretch of working from home could bring long-term economic and social damage. He’s also expressed concerns about productivity among certain groups.
Dimon is allowing individual business leaders to determine when staff need to return to the office, depending on guidance from local government and health authorities.
The decision to extend remote work arrangements for many in the biggest U.S. bank’s consumer unit comes as the virus continues to rage across the country and as many employees navigate child-care issues as some schools operate on hybrid schedules or stick to remote learning. In its corporate and investment bank, senior traders were asked to return to offices by last week.