- A new survey of more than 200 companies from Bank of America found that financial firms will be slower to bring employees back to work than firms in other industries.
- In general, only 30% of employees at financial firms will return to normal work settings by the end of 2020, compared with 45% in other industries.
- By the end of 2021, only 75% of employees in other industries will have returned to normal work settings, and only 67% in finance, per the survey.
- This slow return to work is expected as companies grapple with redesigning office spaces to be more socially distant.
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Work won’t return to normal for most companies until after 2021. But financial firms may be slower to bring employees back than other industries.
A new survey of more than 200 companies from Bank of America found that only 30% of employees at financial firms will return to normal work settings by the end of 2020, compared with 45% in other industries. By the end of 2021, the survey found only 67% of financial firm employees will return to normal work, compared with 75% for all other sectors.
Big banks have been predicting a slow return to the office for a while. Many of the largest firms have hundreds of thousands of employees that need to get back to work, S&P Global reported. JPMorgan, for example, has more than 200,000 employees working remotely right now.
Bringing this many employees back to work safely has created a massive challenge during the coronavirus pandemic. Offices, with their tight cubicles and communal spaces and cafeterias, must be redesigned to be more socially distant. Even elevators present a logistical challenge, Bloomberg previously reported.
Across the board, companies are cautious about bringing their workforces back to the office. IBM, for example, has been planning the return of its 350,000 employees since January. The tech giant is reopening its offices in waves, bringing back the most essential workers first. It’s also rethinking employee transportation and buffets, and requiring temperature checks for all employees before entering the office.
“We’re now having to look at very carefully and think through very methodically how people gather, where they gather when it’s necessary, and in what number,” Dr. Lydia Campbell, IBM’s chief medical officer of corporate health and safety, previously told Business Insider. “I think that’s going to change dramatically.”
Regardless of the industry, the workforce will not look the same as before, Bank of America wrote in a research note. When employees do return to the office, they can expect mandatory mask wearing, regular symptom checks, contact tracing, and an increased use of touchless doors and other features.