Working from home surged in popularity because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Although the crisis is largely in the rearview mirror, remote work continues to be popular because it offers flexibility and alleviates commuting stress.

But that convenience is no longer available at Wall Street juggernaut Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Goldman is urging its employees to return to the office full time, following senior managers’ frustration over some staff not being present five days a week.

“While there is flexibility when needed, we are simply reminding our employees of our existing policy,” Jacqueline Arthur, Goldman’s global head of human capital management, said in a statement. “We have continued to encourage employees to work in the office five days a week.”

It’s not just Goldman. Other financial firms are calling workers back to the office as well.

In April, JPMorgan Chase & Co.  instructed its managing directors to be in the office five days per week. Additionally, a memo from the bank stated that employees not meeting their in-office attendance expectations “must change” or face “appropriate performance management steps, which could include corrective action.”

The wave of returning to office isn’t limited to Wall Street.

In June 2022, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk enacted a mandatory return-to-office policy that requires workers to spend at least 40 hours per week in the office.

As perhaps the most outspoken leader against remote work, Musk told employees in an email, “If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”

Is Remote Work ‘Morally Wrong’?

Employers have cited various reasons for bringing people back to the office, such as productivity, collaboration, training and networking.

For Musk, though, there’s more to the story.

In an interview with CNBC earlier this year, Musk noted that workers who make things people consume can’t work remotely. And to assume that these workers have to work on site while you don’t is “morally wrong.”

“It’s like, really, you’re going to work from home and you’re going to make everyone else who made your car come work in the factory? You’re going to make the people who make your food … that they can’t work from home?” He said. “The people that come fix your house, they can’t work from home, but you can? Does that seem morally right? That’s messed up.”

Musk went so far as to say that “the laptop class is living in la la land.”

Productivity remains a factor for Musk.

“I’m a big believer that people are more productive when they are in person,” he told CNBC.

Source: Benzinga

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