Goldman Sachs boss Richard Gnodde directs calls to return to office

We’ll see you Monday: Goldman Sachs boss Richard Gnodde leads calls for a return to office

  • Boss thinks about 70% of Goldman Sachs staff will return in the coming weeks

Goldman Sachs boss Richard Gnodde has issued a rallying cry to the city saying he expects his employees to return to the office Monday morning.

Gnodde, the head of Goldman Sachs International, estimates that about 70 percent of staff will return to work in the coming weeks after Covid restrictions are eased in England on Monday.

Under the name ‘Freedom Day’, almost all rules about socializing and wearing masks will be dropped.

Back to the office: Richard Gnodde, the head of Goldman Sachs International, estimates that about 70 percent of the workforce will return to work in the coming weeks

Companies have taken different approaches to mask rules, and Gnodde said employees should wear masks in Goldman’s London office, off Fleet Street, “when they’re not at their desks.”

But, unlike some companies, staff don’t need to be fully vaccinated if they want to come back.

The investment bank employs approximately 6,000 people in London. Gnodde said, “The focus of our workforce will be in our buildings and in this building.

‘We think it is very important to have our people together.’

He added: ‘Our focus is very much on ensuring a safe workplace. People will still wear face masks in the building.

“We won’t force them to come in. Our focus will be on creating a safe environment where people feel comfortable.’

When asked about some employees’ reluctance to return and whether this would lead to harsh action, he said: “We would try to understand the issues and what your concerns were and see if we could address them.”

Goldman has been taking a tough stance on working from home for several months now. In February, global CEO David Solomon labeled it a “deviation” and rejected the idea that it would be the “new normal.”

Solomon – who likes to go by the name D-Sol in his spare time – said it didn’t fit into a work culture like Goldman’s.

But the investment bank is at odds with many of its London colleagues, who are taking a more cautious approach.

JP Morgan will require face masks and keep staff on a rotating schedule with a 50 percent occupancy limit at its UK offices.

And Bank of America expects only a few hundred to return from a London workforce of 4,500.

Gnodde’s comments come as figures from landowner Landsec found that more than 70 percent of London’s white-collar workers have already started working in the office one day a week – while about a third have returned to pre-Covid routines.

Some companies, such as the digital payment app Revolut, have switched to permanent ‘flexible’ working, where people alternate between home and office.

Critics of flexible working argue that it can increase productivity and kill businesses in cities such as bus and train companies, restaurants, bars and shops that rely on commuters.