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Goldman softens WFH stance but City still “centre of gravity”

·2-min read
City workers (PA Archive)
City workers (PA Archive)

GOLDMAN Sachs seemed to relax its stance on working from home somewhat today, but it still thinks offices including the main one in London are the “centre of gravity”.

Amid a battle between staff demanding more flexible work deals and businesses keen to see offices at least half-full, some City firms have taken a tough-line, albeit one they keep relaxing in the wake of Covid developments.

In June, Goldman demanded all New York staff were back in the office, hiring live musicians and serving lobster to celebrate the move.

In the UK it delayed similar plans to July 19 in light of government guidance.

JP Morgan has been particularly tough, with CEO Jamie Dimon telling staff to disclose their vaccination status and get back in.

Working from home “doesn’t work for people who want to hustle, doesn’t work for culture, doesn’t work for idea generation. By September it will look just like it did before,” said Dimon, who added: “We are getting blowback about coming back internally, but that’s life.”

Today Goldman Sachs seemed to ease back somewhat. Richard Gnodde, the bank’s international head, said: “We firmly believe that the office remains the centre of gravity for work,” he told Les Echos.

“We evolve in a creative industry, which presupposes teams working together. Young bankers learn the job by observing senior ones.”

But there will be flexibility. “Risk management and trading, we prefer this to take place in an office, but writing up a report, why not do it at home?”

He had warm words for the City of London, sentiment not always shared at Goldman. Former CEO Lloyd Blankfein praised Frankfurt in 2017, saying he would be “spending a lot more time there” in a jibe at post-Brexit London.

Gnodde said the City has “existed for centuries” before Brexit and will be there for centuries after.

Figures today showed London moved back ahead of Amsterdam as Europe’s largest share trading centre in June.

Share trading remains a fraction of City revenues, however.

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