JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s note to employees to return to the office this month did not go down well, according to Reuters.
The largest U.S. bank’s internal messaging forum was swamped by staffers who condemned the edict, which emphasized the importance of being together.
“In spite of the claims here, this is not actually about collaboration,” one commenter wrote, according to Reuters.
Some staffers pushed back, calling the order “divisive,” while others felt it was “tone deaf,” the wire service reported.
Employees, including managers, complained about a “Zoom culture” that confined them to virtual conferences even in the office. They highlighted the challenges caused by long commutes and family caretaking duties.
Though a small fraction of the 297,000 headcount at JPMorgan commented, the number of people who took issue with the order was high compared to what is standard on the company intranet, three employees from different levels of seniority told Reuters.
Typically posts with a high volume of responses are locked after about a day, which was the case here, another source told the outlet.
JPMorgan declined to comment to the publication.
On April 12, the lender sent a 700-word note asking managing directors to be in the office every weekday, putting an end to the hybrid work option at that level.
“They have to be visible on the floor, they must meet with clients, they need to teach and advise, and they should always be accessible for immediate feedback and impromptu meetings. We need them to lead by example,” internal memo said.
The hybrid-working staff must be in the office three times a week unless senior management approves an exception. Managers might consider office attendance in performance reviews, the memo noted.
The bank is taking the three-day rule seriously, and asking some employees to refrain from scheduling any personal commitments on those days, a JPMorgan employee told Reuters.
"There is a growing concern that if managers are going to be coming in five days a week, they may informally start asking the juniors to be in there as well," the employee said, asking for anonymity for fear of retribution.
Among the large Wall Street banks, the views on getting employees back to the office differ. JPMorgan’s counterparts Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, support in-office work schedules, while Citi, Bank of New York Mellon and UBS are open to more flexibility in working options to retain talent, according to Reuters.
“We don't want to punish everybody because of that, but people agreed to do three days a week; we expect three days a week,” Dimon said on an April 14 earnings call. “We completely understand that some people don't want to do it — they can not do it elsewhere.”
At the time, a bank spokesperson said JPMorgan would remain flexible, Reuters reported.