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BlackRock to Start Return-to-Office Pilot Program on Nov. 1

More than half of the firm's employees will be expected to work in the office at least three days a week.

(Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest asset manager, told employees Thursday that more than half of the firm will be expected to work in the office at least three days a week beginning Nov. 1.

The firm is rolling out its “Future of Work” pilot program over the next several months to gauge how well U.S. and European employees can collaborate while allowing as many as two days a week of remote work, according to a memo to staff. New York-based BlackRock said it aims to expand the initiative to more U.S. offices no later than January.

“The past 18 months upended and tested many traditional assumptions about how we work and live, and importantly clarified the value of being together and connecting as professionals and enjoying flexibility,” Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldstein and human resources head Manish Mehta wrote in the memo.

The plan designates the office as the “primary” work location, and the company said the flexibility to work from home may depend on an employee’s role. Some parts of the business may require staff to be in more frequently, according to the executives.

“At-home days will enable productivity, create space for creativity, and nurture well-being, with more time to spend on what’s important to us professionally and personally,” they wrote.

The decision is yet another sign that the finance industry’s push to get workers back at their desks is gaining momentum on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Read more: City of London’s Bankers Are Finally Getting Back to Their Desks

BlackRock, with $9.5 trillion of assets under management at midyear, had previously asked employees to return to the office in early October, but backtracked on that timetable earlier this month, saying the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant called for more flexibility. 

The firm said Thursday that all workers entering U.S. offices will need to be fully vaccinated and tested each week.

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