Two other big financial firms urge workers to stay home

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

American Express and BlackRock are the latest big companies to urge their employees to start 2022 working remotely as Covid-19 cases skyrocket.

“We have seen an exponential increase in the spread of the Omicron variant across the world,” AmEx CEO Stephen Squeri said in a note to employees on Tuesday. “We encourage anyone who can do their job effectively from home to continue to do so. “

New York-based AmEx said it has decided to delay the Jan. 24 launch of a new flexible work plan that will require most employees to be in the office one to three days a week.

The CEO of AmEx said the launch is being delayed “until we feel comfortable bringing a large number of colleagues together in the office.”

Meanwhile, BlackRock, which is also based in New York City, is encouraging employees to “work where they are most comfortable” because of the Omicron variant, the company spokesperson told CNN. , Aziz Nayani.

“Our offices are always open and employees can work from the desk if they wish,” said the BlackRock spokesperson.

Ahead of the holidays, BlackRock encouraged flexibility with employee workplaces until Jan. 7. The world’s largest asset manager informed employees late last week that the flexibility will be extended until January 28.

This is all a change from BlackRock’s previous policy, where American employees in most cities were invited to come to the office three days a week, on average.

A number of large companies have revised their plans to return to the office in recent days, including the big New York-based banks JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Jefferies.

The changes underscore the concerns of employees about crowding into crowded offices, elevators and subways given the deteriorating health situation.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has pushed back the return to remote working, fearing empty office buildings will harm the ecosystem of workers who depend on office workers and business travelers, including cleaners in dry, restaurants and hot dog vendors.

“We have low-skilled workers who can’t work from home or telecommute,” Adams told CNN’s Brianna Keilar Tuesday. “It’s time to open up and feed our ecosystem, our financial ecosystem.

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