STERN words from Deutsche Bank which has ordered its US staff back to the office by Labor Day – September 6.
“Begin to plan accordingly with your team and manager to re-establish a presence in the office before or by that date,” says a memo from a bigwig.
He wants everyone back by early July, telling staff: “Get used to it.” Sure, he added, people don’t like commuting, “but so what?”
Working from home “doesn’t work for younger people, it doesn’t work for those who hustle, it doesn’t work in terms of spontaneous idea generation, it doesn’t work for culture”.
Dimon has flip-flopped on stuff before, notably crypto currencies, and this looks like a flip-flop in-waiting.
The test here will come when JP Morgan and the like find that their inflexible attitude is causing them to lose staff they want to keep and fail to hire staff they desperately need.
The big banks had been losing to big tech in the race for the brightest young minds for some time even before the pandemic.
The wiz-kid techies found Google and its free yoga classes far more appealing than Goldman Sachs and its 100-hour weeks.
So there’s a battle coming between employers used to being able to shove staff around, and a newly emboldened workforce willing to make fairly radical choices about how they live and where they work.
Cities can still be busy, of course, but offices don’t need to be.
Jamie Dimon is famed, among other things, for approaching the future Mrs Dimon at a student party and telling her: “Hi, I’m Jamie and you are leaving with me.” She did. The rest of us might be less malleable.