We’ll see you on Monday: Goldman Sachs boss Richard Gnodde leads calls for a return to the office
Goldman Sachs boss Richard Gnodde has sounded a rallying cry to the City by saying that he expects his workers back in the office on Monday morning.
Gnodde, the head of Goldman Sachs International, estimates around 70 per cent of staff will return to work over the next few weeks after Covid restrictions are relaxed in England on Monday.
Dubbed ‘Freedom Day’, virtually all rules around socialising and mask wearing will be dropped.
Back to the office: Richard Gnodde, the head of Goldman Sachs International, estimates around 70 per cent of staff will return to work over the next few weeks
Firms have taken different approaches to mask rules and Gnodde said employees would need to wear masks in Goldman’s London office, off Fleet Street, ‘when not at their desk’.
But, unlike some businesses, it will not require staff to be fully vaccinated if they want to come back in.
The investment bank has around 6,000 people in London. Gnodde said: ‘The centre of gravity for our workforce is going to be in our buildings and it will be in this building.
‘We believe it’s really important to have our people together.’
He added: ‘Our focus is very much on securing a safe workplace. People will still be wearing masks in the building.
‘We will not force them to come in. Our focus is going to be on creating a safe environment where people feel comfortable.’
When asked about some employees’ reluctance to return and whether it would lead to hardline measures, he said: ‘We’d look to understand the issues and what your concerns were and we’d see if we could address them.’
Goldman has taken a tough stance ne on working from home for several months. In February, global chief executive David Solomon slammed it as an ‘aberration’ and shot down the idea of it being the ‘new normal’.
Solomon – who enjoys DJ-ing under the name of D-Sol in his spare time –said it did not suit a work culture such as Goldman’s.
But the investment bank is at odds with many of its peers in London, which are opting for a more cautious approach.
JP Morgan will require face masks and keep staff on a rotating schedule with a 50 per cent occupancy limit at its UK offices.
And Bank of America expects only a few hundred to come back in out of a London workforce of 4,500.
Gnodde’s comments come as figures from landlord giant Landsec found more than 70 per cent of London’s white-collar workers have already started working one day per week back in the office –while around a third are back to pre-Covid routines.
Some firms, such as digital payments app Revolut have switched to permanent ‘flexible’ working that will see its people alternate between home and the office.
Critics of flexible working claim it could hammer productivity and spell the death knell for businesses in cities such as bus and train firms, restaurants, bars and shops that rely on commuters.