It's a function of being the CEO of a major bank that people tend to agree with your opinions when they encounter you in elevators or corridors. On this basis, Goldman CEO David Solomon may be subject to some confirmation bias when he asks his employees how they feel about being summoned back to the offices to work. However, Solomon seems pretty convinced that people are being honest in their enthusiasm.
"I’ve heard from so many of our people in the past few weeks that they are glad to be back n the office," said Solomon on today's investor call to mark the firm's second quarter results. Clients are happy that Goldman staff are back in the office too, Solomon added.
Although Goldman generated healthy profits and revenues while people were working from home last year, Solomon said today that bringing people "back together" had "forged a close bond of culture, collaboration, teamwork and apprenticeship" that was allowing the firm to "thrive." - The experience of working in physical proximity to colleagues is "invigorating," Solomon said.
Goldman summoned its people back to the office from early July. Solomon said today that 50% of people have been back in the firm's buildings around the world. When staff returned to its New York office, Goldman provided food vans and music. In London, there was free gelato.
While Solomon seems convinced of staff enthusiasm for commuting in and working at their desks, there have also been mutterings of discontent. Business Insider reported last week that some associates were resisting the call to return in San Francisco and New York "The official messaging is, 'We're back in the office.' But from conversations that I've had ... I think there's a recognition that there are a lot of benefits from working from home," said one.
Bloomberg reported in March that Solomon wanted people back in the office after encountering some Goldman associates who were out having lunch in the Hamptons in the middle of a working day. Richard Gnodde, the chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International, told French newspaper Les Echos recently that risk management and trading roles need to take place in the office, but report writing can just as easily happen at home.
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