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JPMorgan warns that bankers who fail to come into the office could face ‘corrective action’—and orders leaders to be in 5 days a week



JPMorgan is ordering its senior leaders back to the office five days a week—and says it will punish any of its employees who fail to comply with its return-to-office rules.

In an internal memo seen by the Financial Times, the Wall Street titan emphasized its expectation for employees to be in the office multiple times each week—a rule that applies to its entire workforce of more than 240,000 people globally.

Managing directors at JPMorgan are required to work from the office five days per week, according to the FT.

“Our leaders play a critical role in reinforcing our culture and running our businesses,” the lender’s operating committee said in the staff memo, which was sent on Wednesday. “They have to be visible on the floor, they must meet with clients, they need to teach and advise, and they should always be accessible for immediate feedback and impromptu meetings.”

A spokesperson for JPMorgan was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fortune, but the bank confirmed to the FT that the contents of the staff note were genuine.

Employees in non-leadership roles who work in certain divisions at JPMorgan—such as trading or sales—are also expected to work in the office full time, the FT reported. Other employees are required to be in at least three days a week—a rule Wednesday’s memo suggested was not always being complied with.

“A number of employees…aren’t meeting their in-office attendance expectations, and that must change,” the operating committee said, warning that failure to come into headquarters when required to would lead to “appropriate performance management steps, which could include corrective action.”

JPMorgan first ordered staff back to the office in 2021, as concerns about the public health implications of the COVID-19 virus began to ease. However, the move away from remote working was met with resistance from staff.

On Wednesday, the bank insisted that there was good reason for it to order its employees to spend the majority of their working hours in the office.

“We believe that being together in person is the best way to build and strengthen our culture,” the memo said.

Wall Street’s return-to-office push

In a letter to shareholders last year, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said only 10% of employees had permission to work remotely full-time. Around half of the bank’s staff were required to be in the office every day, he told investors, while the remaining 40% were allowed to split their time between home and headquarters.

The company made headlines last April when it was reported to be monitoring workers’ ID badges to work out whether or not they were complying with its policy and going into the office on a regular basis.

Dimon has publicly lamented how remote work has, in his opinion, suppressed “spontaneous idea generation” as well as leadership and training.

JPMorgan isn’t alone in calling for employees to spend more time in the office than they do working from home, with many of its rival lenders taking a similar stance on remote and hybrid work.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon famously referred to remote working as an “aberration,” and has insisted employees return to in-person working full time—despite pushback from staff.  

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive James Gorman said in an interview earlier this year that although for many workers five days in the office would not be happening again, he expected employees to be in the office at least twice a week.

“They don’t get to choose their compensation, they don’t get to choose their promotion, they don’t get to choose to stay home five days a week,” he said. “I want them with other employees at least three or four days.”

Gartner HR’s Caitlin Duffy told Fortune on Thursday that she believed leaders ordering their staff to spend most of their working week in the office were getting it wrong.  

“Mandating an office-centric approach to working is a mistake and overlooks the numerous benefits of hybrid work,” she said. “This includes greater opportunities for employee flexibility and rest, advantages for underrepresented and neurodiverse talent, and the important fact that many employees are significantly more productive and more engaged in a hybrid workplace.”

Duffy argued that the problem leaders were experiencing when they spoke of a shift in company culture were not a consequence of remote or hybrid working, but “a failure to fully optimize it.”

However, Gartner research has showed that many leaders share concerns with the likes of Dimon and Solomon when it comes to remote work.

According to a survey the organization carried out, 69% of business leaders have concerns about collaboration, culture, creativity and engagement, while more than half of HR leaders believe their staff are less connected to their company than they were before the pandemic.

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