Goldman Sachs asks UK staff to continue wearing masks in the office from Monday


The bank won’t insist on COVID jabs for staff to work from the physical office, and won’t force them back if they feel uncomfortable doing so. Photo: Pavlo Gonchar / SOPA / LightRocket via Getty Images

Employees who return to Goldman Sachs headquarters in London on Monday will still be required to wear masks in the building despite the easing of government restrictions.

Richard Gnodde, boss of Goldman Sachs International, said the company is focused on “securing a safe workplace,” although it is not mandatory for staff to be vaccinated to return to work.

“The center of gravity of our workforce will be in our buildings and it will be in this building,” Gnodde told the BBC, referring to the £ 1bn ($ 1.4bn) office of the company in the capital.

He added that the bank would not insist on COVID jabs to work from the physical office, and that it would not force staff to return if they felt uncomfortable doing so.

“[We will] continue to manage our exit from this in a prudent and appropriate manner to make sure our people feel comfortable, ”he said.

Goldman hopes that 70% of its UK staff will return to the office in the coming weeks.

Read more: Goldman Sachs staff ordered to show vaccine report before returning to office

Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon dismissed remote working as a “new normal”, calling it an “aberration.”

He said the company had operated throughout 2020 with “less than 10% of our employees” in the office, but remote working does not suit Goldman Sachs’ work culture.

“I think that for a company like ours, which is an innovative and collaborative learning culture, this is not ideal for us. And that’s not a new normal. It is an aberration that we are going to correct as quickly as possible, ”he declared at a conference.

In contrast, a number of large companies and corporate institutions have confirmed that they will adopt hybrid and flexible working in the future.

Watch: What Will Returning To Work After The Pandemic Look Like?

A spokesperson for Lloyds (LLOY.L) told Yahoo Finance on Friday: “From July 19, company offices in the UK will continue to be open for those who need to be there, with revised protocols in accordance with relaxation of restrictions.

“However, we don’t expect people to return in large numbers until September 13, when almost everyone has been doubly vaccinated.”

They added, “From that date we will fully embrace flexible working, where the office is where we will be collectively at our best to oversee and sponsor the market, innovate together, and collaborate on our exciting change programs. Our employees will be in the office based on the needs of the business and our stakeholders. For many employees, this will average three days a week.

Rival bank HSBC (HSBA.L) said it recommended colleagues wear face masks in confined spaces, such as elevators, and consider wearing a mask when walking around the office.

“Our responsibility for health and safety as an employer is always paramount and therefore, in addition to government guidance, we continue to closely monitor conditions across the UK and take advice from our advisers medical, “said a spokesperson.

READ MORE: Barclays CEO: Crowded Canary Wharf offices ‘could be a thing of the past’

It follows this year’s plans to drastically reduce its office footprint in the coming years and embrace a post-COVID “agile” way of working.

Europe’s largest bank said in a strategy update that it hopes to reduce its global office space by 40% “in the long run”. It’s reorganizing offices to support the transition to a new hybrid way of working, with more flexible collaboration space for teams, bookable desks, and new technology to support staff.

“They will be much more of a hybrid model of people working in offices, but in a different way, but also working from home when they want to,” CEO Noel Quinn previously said.

Elsewhere, Barclays (BARC.L) chief executive Jes Staley said last year that crowded downtown offices could be a “thing of the past,” while Twitter (TWTR) told staff that ‘he could work from home indefinitely.

Watch: Wall Street wants employees to return to the office


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