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CEOs are getting sick of staff working from home

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·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
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Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive James Gorman said this week: 'If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office'. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive James Gorman said this week: 'If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office'. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Chief executives are getting sick of staff working from home, with a rising proportion wanting to get employees back to the office full-time.

UBS (UBSG.SW) said on Friday that a survey of 675 senior executives across the UK and Europe found more leaders want to get staff back in the office full-time.

"European CEOs' support for WFH is eroding, ie 40% expect a full workweek in the office from their staff over the next 2-5 years (+3 points vs December)," UBS analysts wrote in a note sent to clients.

Read more: Can companies force staff to return to the office from 19 July?

Enthusiasm for a return to the office has been most pronounced in the US banking sector, where CEOs have been vocal about wanting to bring people back. Goldman Sachs (GS) chief executive David Solomon earlier this year called working from home an "aberration" and has ordered staff back in. JPMorgan (JPM) has told the majority of staff to return by September. Morgan Stanley (MS) boss James Gorman made headlines this week when he said: "If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you in the office."

The push to get people back in the office comes as bosses worry about the inefficiency of remote working. UBS' senior leader survey found 88% think productivity suffers when people work from home.

The attitude of US banks contrasts sharply with the tech sector, where leaders have been far more relaxed about letting staff work remotely. Twitter (TWTR) last year introduced a "work from anywhere" policy and Facebook (FB) chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he plans to work remotely for at least half of the next year.

Read more: Goldman Sachs CEO calls work from home an 'aberration'

European banks have also been more flexible. The likes of HSBC (HSBA.L) and Lloyds Bank (LLOY.L) have made public commitments to 'hybrid' working and are ditching office space as a result. 

While UBS found a growing desire for a full-time return to office eventually, most leaders accept that hybrid working will probably be the new normal for at least the next few years. The majority said they expect staff to work at least a few days from home each week over the next five years.

The findings come amid reports that the UK is considering legislating to allow workers the right to work from home indefinitely.

Watch: What is a credit rating and why does it matter?

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