Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft say that remote working will be a permanent option for employees going forward and tech companies generally appear to very enthusiastic about long-term working from home arrangements. However, it may not be so for all office-based workers.
Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO, David Solomon has rejected remote working as an “aberration”.
Mr Solomon believes home-working does not suit the Goldman Sachs company culture but he did note that the bank had operated throughout 2020 with “less than 10% of our people” in the office.
However, he went on to say, “for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, home-working is not ideal for us. It is not a new normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible”. He says he is particularly concerned about the incoming “class” of 3,000 new recruits, who would not get the “direct mentorship” they need through a home-working model
However, he also said that the pandemic had helped advance the adoption of digital technologies and had created ways for the investment bank to run more efficiently but that on balance, it would not lead to significant workplace changes in the long-term.
This sentiment was also expressed by JP Morgan’s CEO at the end of 2020 who said that working from home was having a negative effect on productivity.
According to the UK Office of National Statistics, more than 46% of employees have done some home-working over the past 12 months which is comparable to US data from a Stanford University Economics professor whose study last year showed that 42% of the US workforce was remote working at the peak of the pandemic last year.
A Willis Towers Watson survey of US employers in last May found that they expected 22% of staff to continue working from home after the pandemic, up from just 7% in 2019 and according to a PWC survey, about 55% of employers said they expected staff to work from home at least one day a week even after concerns about the virus passes. 80% of employees said they supported the concept.
Meanwhile, analysts believe such a shift could have widespread implications, reducing demand for office and residential properties in expensive city centre. Rents in New York and San Francisco have already dropped.