Bank of America’s attempts to get staff back into the office has had a “concerning” response, say leaders.

One employee described an office as a “ghost-town” as some departments struggle to get people to return from remote-working.

The early signs from the company suggest getting people back full-time is going to be difficult.

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Staff said the bank called back vaccinated employees in March, and the results have led to some dissatisfaction.

In conversations with Insider over the previous several weeks, some employees claimed they’d seen low attendance in their departments, while others said they’d seen individuals come in five days a week.

Officially, the company’s policy is to encourage workers to work from home, although this does not exclude those who need to do it from time-to-time.

The bank of America has refrained from issuing a company-wide directive requiring employees to work five days per week.

At the same time, it has not implemented a company-wide hybrid strategy as JPMorgan and Citigroup have done.

Instead, the Charlotte, NC-based bank has given each of its departments — from global markets to technology — the authority to set their own requirements for how many days its employees must be on the job.

Some employees said their managers set a five-day return-to-work requirement for their teams, while others say they were ordered to spend at least three days in the office but may spend two at home if they wanted.

Managers also have access to data based on the company’s tracking of ID swipes to determine if their teams are hitting their internal targets on the return to work process, according to people close to the company.

One person said: “There are areas completely empty and areas completely full. It is very binary.”

They were referring to One Bryant Park in New York City. 

They added: “That creates a lot of tension.”

As a result, according to the sources, some managers have urged their employees to come in five days a week.

An unnamed senior technology worker at the bank’s Newark, Delaware, campus claimed their division had entirely different standards for how often its people needed to be in.

The campus is a “ghost town,” the staff member said last week during the bank’s mass return to the office.

They said: “On most days, the parking lot is less than 50% filled.”

They added the total attendance at the Delaware hub has fluctuated between 30 percent and 40 percent on “good days.” 

One possible explanation is that the hub employs a number of contractors who have yet to return to work.

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Banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan which have taken a tougher stance on their employees about returning have received internal complaints from staff who feel they should have more leeway.

JPMorgan, for example, has experienced a surge of rebellion from disgruntled employees who are fed up with the hybrid model’s enforcement mechanisms.

Insider reported one prominent IT boss recently decided to backtrack on his staff’s return-to-work standards after a ‘barrage of internal pushback.’

Leaders in the global markets division get weekly reports to check team attendance, according to the senior market executive.

He described the findings at the One Bryant Park office until May as “concerning.”

Many employees expected at the office did not show up, which, according to one executive, is “a dangerous sign.”

Fridays, in particular, have often been emptier on trading floors, which has caused concerns among some senior executives, the source said.

A company spokesman did not deny the existence of the reports but said: “the vast majority of our Global Markets traders and salespeople are in the office every day serving clients.”

But one tech staffer said: “The monitoring really bothers me.

They expressed concern that the bank could eventually use the office-attendance data “to punish us and take that time away.”

“I’m an adult. I know what I need to do. I’m doing my job.

“I don’t need you to micromanage me.”

SourceBusiness Insider

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