(Bloomberg)—Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. are among the banks asking London staff to get back to their desks after the U.K. dropped its work-from-home guidance.
Goldman employees are being asked to return in line with the government’s announcement on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter. Citigroup has emailed its London staff telling them to come into the office at least three days a week.
“We are now free to gather in our offices, without restriction, where we are better able to generate the energy and collaborative spirit on which Citi thrives,” EMEA Chief Executive Officer David Livingstone and U.K. head James Bardrick said in an email to staff sent late Wednesday and seen by Bloomberg.
Fidelity International CEO Anne Richards and Standard Chartered Plc Chairman Jose Vinals both said on Bloomberg Television Thursday that their firms are encouraging U.K. staff to return to its offices.
“We will be encouraging more people to come into the office,” Richards said. “I’m looking forward to being physically back to the office from next week.”
The moves come after the government announced Wednesday that most Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted in England over the coming days, which included asking people to work from home. PricewaterhouseCoopers UK’s Chairman Kevin Ellis is another executive welcoming the change, saying he expects the return to the office to be speedier than last time, when it took his firm two months to get back to 80% capacity at the office.
“We’re expecting a faster bounce back now,” he said in an emailed statement on Thursday. “People know the drill -- and this is great news for small businesses and city centers that rely on office workers.”
Citi’s email said the U.S. lender continues to offer flexible working, adding that its protective measures remain in place, including its lateral flow Covid testing program and staff should continue to test each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Rules regarding face coverings also remain in place and staff must continue wearing one when using the lifts.
Mandatory testing and mask wearing will remain in place at Goldman’s building, the person said.
In December, banks from Citi to Deutsche Bank AG to JPMorgan Chase & Co. told staff to return to home-working where possible after Prime Minister Boris Johnson tightened pandemic rules to curb the spread of the omicron variant. Even before the rules came in, fears about the variant meant some City workers were increasingly staying away.
Such restrictions are being dropped although people will still be encouraged to wear face coverings in “crowded, enclosed” areas,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “We will trust the judgment of the British people.”
--With assistance from Loukia Gyftopoulou and Harry Wilson.
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