- After more than two years of remote work, Capital One will reopen the doors to its U.S. offices for all employees on Sept. 6, CEO Richard Fairbank announced in a memo Wednesday.
- After delaying plans twice to return to in-person work earlier during the pandemic, the McLean, Virginia-based firm has committed to a hybrid model that encourages employees to come into the office Tuesday through Thursday, although attendance on those days will not be mandatory.
- Capital One employees who have not provided proof of vaccination will be permitted to return to the office in September, so long as they comply with the regular COVID-19 testing policies the bank will outline this summer, according to the memo.
“Capital One’s hybrid future means that the significant majority of associates will spend meaningful time working both in-person and virtually,” Fairbank said.
The bank first announced its “future as a hybrid work company” in June 2021, citing a company survey that found 96% of the bank’s workers wanted to incorporate remote work into their schedules.
But in August, the rise of the delta variant forced Capital One to keep its offices shuttered for longer than expected, and the bank delayed its office return date from Sept. 7, 2021, to Nov. 2, 2021.
The firm again demurred in October, and gave up trying to provide a specific timetable for RTO, but promised to provide employees with at least 30 days notice before calling them into the office. Now, Capital One has set an official date of Sept. 6 for the occasion.
In pursuing a hybrid work policy, Capital One is following in the footsteps of other large firms like Citi and Wells Fargo, which also expect staffers to show up in-person three days a week.
As part of Capital One’s hybrid model, Mondays and Fridays will be designated as “virtual work days,” on which employees can work from wherever they like. Capital One offices will be open on those days with limited services, but all meetings should be virtual, according to the memo.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the bank’s offices will be fully open, although attendance will not be mandatory (at least initially).
“[R]emote work can be both effective and empowering. Our commutes are a lot shorter. Our daily schedules are more efficient. Life’s demands don’t always fit around a 9-to-5 work schedule. Virtual work has allowed us to better balance the competing demands of our work and our personal lives,” Fairbank said in the memo. "On the other hand, we also know that the office environment provides many benefits. Our offices and campuses provide unique opportunities for planned collaboration, innovation, and mentorship.”
The firm will allow some employees to continue to work fully-remotely with senior executive approval, according to the memo.
Regular testing over vaccine mandates
Capital One has modified its vaccine policy for office workers over the course of the year — the last time the bank set a date to resume working in-person, it said it would require all office-based employees be vaccinated before returning to in-person work during the initial reopening period.
According to the memo on Wednesday, however, Capital One will permit unvaccinated staffers to work in the office this fall.
The bank said it will allow employees who provide proof of full vaccination to work in-person on a voluntary basis before Sept. 6, after which date the firm will also permit employees who do not provide proof of vaccination to come into company buildings and campuses, so long as they comply with COVID testing procedures the bank will explicate this summer.
Such a lenient vaccine policy sets Capital One apart from rival firms like Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that have required workers to get the jab to work in person, and instead aligns Capital One closer to JPMorgan, which stopped requiring unvaccinated staffers to get tested and wear masks in the office in April.