London financial workers flock to office in hot commuter crash


London — There is no free lunch in finance unless the bank brings the worker back to the office.

The London financial sector, eager to return to normal after the worst pandemic, is leading the responsibility of encouraging employees to return to their old lives, and some companies have free meals. And social events.

It seems to be working. London carriers said this week recorded the busiest day since the pandemic invasion in March 2020, as workers buried the once abandoned trains in the capital’s two financial districts, City and Canary Wharf. rice field.

The Canary Wharf Group, which runs the area, also said it was the busiest time since March last year. A crowd of office staff rushed to the square, and city workers crowded the London Bridge, relaxing by the Tower Bridge in the resurrected September sun.

Ian Williams, who worked for investment bank Peel Hunt and returned to his office in London, said: First week.

In fact, according to Standard Chartered Bank, about 33% of its staff are in the office this week, up from 20% last week to dozens during this year’s and last blockade.

Banks are one of those who are becoming creative by rewarding staff entering the office by offering free meals.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, whose CEO calls telecommuting “abnormal,” offers a sweet temptation at the free gelato ice cream bar.

The investment bank said this week about 3,000 workers came to the Plumtree Court office in London. That’s about 50% capacity, adding that the bank has increased six-fold from the peak blockage, which was run by only 400-500 staff per day.

The bank told Reuters that the daily occupancy of HSBC’s headquarters in Canary Wharf has increased from an average of 1,000 to 1,500 recently to 1,800 out of 3,500 this week.

But there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Banks are not prioritizing offering incentives like free meals, UK CEO Ian Stewart told Reuters.

“We are trying to convey that the office is safe very effectively. The first hurdle is to accept and try people, and we are doing it more and more,” he said. rice field.

A woman exercising with her dog near the City of London financial district in London, England, April 30, 2021. (John Sibley / Reuters)

“Crushed back on the train”

A similar, albeit cautious, office influx is occurring in the United States amid concerns about the spread of delta coronavirus variants. Citigroup expects staff to return to their offices in New York and other large cities from September 13th, two days a week, but only if they are vaccinated.

Investment banking executives are most vocal about the need for staff to return to the office.

They hope that the novelty of an office that works from home a year and a half later, as well as the attractiveness of mixing with senior management who may open the door to promotion, outweighs the health concerns of young city officials. is.

JP Morgan has seen about 35% of Canary Wharf office staff this week. This is the highest percentage since the first UK blockade began and the number is expected to increase.

Starting with a 50% occupancy of offices in the UK and Scotland, other companies are ready to follow, including retail bank NatWest, which plans a gradual return starting next week.

The insurance company Phoenix Group has adopted another new strategy to help staff readjust to return to offices, including the city.

This week we’re hosting a “safe social event,” offering employees free food, soft drinks, and colored straps to interact at different levels, from “keeping distance” to “me.” Showed if it was comfortable. m High five is OK. “