Bank of America is using cupcakes and staff lunches to help employees accept the fact that they must return to work five days a week.
At least, that’s the view from downtown San Francisco, where Bank of America’s market president Gioia McCarthy spoke candidly about how she’s attempting to alleviate the impact of the bank’s full-time return-to-office policy, which was announced to all employees on Tuesday, March 1.
Gioia McCarthy said: “I will tell you I’ve paid for lots of lunches and cupcakes to celebrate birthdays, and we’ve gotten creative on what the team wants to see.”
“We’ve been really good about creating different meetings that people would be interested in, and all of those things collectively help people come to the office. They know there’s a reason to be here.
“f it’s not fun and it’s not social and you don’t get all the joy out of it, it’s really hard to think coming back to the office is a good thing. You just feel like it’s a chore then, so you have to work extra hard as a manager to help engage your team and figure out what makes them happy when they’re in the workplace,”
Bank of America was one of two dozen major San Francisco companies to sign on to Mayor London Breed’s plan to begin bringing back workforces in March in the hopes of revitalizing San Francisco’s pandemic-ravaged downtown.
As the month comes to a close, there has been no rush back to the office, and various companies have stated that their return-to-work plans will be part-time, with exemptions for those who prefer to remain remote full-time.
Bank of America and other major banks have been among the most aggressive in implementing full, five-day-a-week return-to-work policies.
BofA could be at the forefront. Half of the business leaders polled by Microsoft recently said their company already requires or plans to require, employees, to return to full-time office work within the next year.
These expectations may cross paths with another survey finding: 51 percent of current hybrid employees are considering a shift to full remote work, while 57 percent of remote employees are considering a shift to hybrid work.
Various surveys have reported large percentages of remote or hybrid employees saying they’d quit if told they will have to return to the office full time.
Comments from Bank of America employees criticizing the move, some of which use strong language, are already piling up on Blind, a social media site where verified employees can post anonymously.
Bank of America and other employers seeking a full return to the office may face unique challenges in the Bay Area, where tech firms are embracing hybrid work models or, in the case of Salesforce and other employers, a work-from-anywhere policy.
Visa and Uber are among the Bay Area’s major employers that want staff to come into the office at least half the time. But BofA is taking a different tack.