JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it doesn’t yet have a timeline for returning employees to offices and joined other major banks in saying it may take a more cautious approach than local governments once it does start reopening.
The company is planning to invite workers back in waves, with social-distancing guidelines affecting how many can come to a location at once, according to a memo to staff Thursday from the bank’s operating committee. Business leaders will prioritize who returns when, with employees getting at least two weeks’ notice before they’re expected back.
“We recognize that restrictions are being lifted in some countries around the world and in locations in the U.S., and we encourage you to exercise care and caution as you spend time in public places,” the committee said. “We are still facing a global pandemic and the lifting of restrictions is just one important piece of being in a position to return employees safely to the office.”
With the coronavirus pandemic just starting to ebb in New York, the world’s largest banks have been busily developing plans to eventually bring staff back to mostly empty towers. Roughly 70% of JPMorgan’s more than 250,000 global employees have been working from home since the end of March to help stem the spread of the deadly virus.
The bank has established a Return to the Office Task Force comprised of business leaders and real estate, technology, human resources and global security representatives to assist locations in developing plans for reopening, according to the memo.
JPMorgan is planning to implement security and health protocols for entering buildings. The bank will also be rearranging desks and workstations and mapping out ways to control “flow on floors and in common areas like cafes,” the bank said in the memo.
The bank will likely limit how many people can ride an elevator at once and might station attendants outside elevators to help push buttons, so fewer workers need to touch keypads, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month. In cafeterias, JPMorgan may shut down buffet-style options in favor of packaged items for pickup.