U.S. Bank CEO Andy Cecere wants his employees back in the office three days a week, according to an internal memo seen by the Star Tribune.
Most of the bank’s corporate employees continue to work from home, but that “collaboration, engagement, and how we demonstrate our culture as One U.S. Bank” is starting to erode, Cecere wrote.
“Being in the office won't solve this at once, but it can and will help," Cecere wrote.
The CEO added he wants the change to be a choice, not a mandate. "But to get to that point, we need people to give it real effort to succeed,” he said.
The best balance, Cecere’s leadership team decided, was a hybrid system of three days in the office and two days out of the office per week.
"We also know that may seem far from reality for you right now; the transition doesn't have to happen overnight, but it should be something you commit to like any new habit," he wrote in the memo.
Cecere said the company plans to re-appraise where its workers are by early 2023 and make a decision about where to go from there.
U.S. Bank spokesman Jeff Shelman confirmed the memo to Banking Dive.
“We believe there is value in in-person collaboration, one-on-one meetings and simply working together that is difficult to fully replicate through video calls. Because of that, we have set a goal for our hybrid team members to be onsite about three days a week,” Shelman said. “We are not mandating that expectation at this time. Our leaders are being encouraged to make the most of these in-person days.”
He noted that about half of U.S. Bank’s employees come to the office once a week and that half of the bank’s 70,000 employees nationwide work in hybrid roles.
"Collaboration happens faster [in the office]," Cecere said. "We can see engagement up close, and decision-making happens in real-time. It's easier to keep a pulse on how effective we are as an organization when we can see people face-to-face more regularly, and this helps us sustain our culture."
Cecere’s memo follows the migration of employees at some of the nation’s largest banks to a hybrid model, following full-time remote work during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some bank heads, like Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon, were vocal in their opposition to remote work, calling it “an aberration.” Today, roughly two-thirds of the bank’s employees are back five days a week. While other banks were quick to position themselves as the anti-Goldman, many of the nation’s largest banks — including Citi, Bank of America, Capital One and TD Bank — have landed on three-day-in/two-day-out policies for sizable proportions of their workforces.