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Goldman Sachs told most London staff to leave the office from Thursday

Following yesterday's announcement of a new U.K. lockdown from November 5th to December 2nd, Richard Gnodde, CEO of Goldman Sachs International, has emailed London staff saying that only those designated as, "in-office essential" should come into the London office from Thursday.

Gnodde says all other staff should make provisions to work from home until further notice, suggesting the firm expects people to remain in home offices even after the lockdown is supposed to end. 

Goldman is also closing its onsite fitness centre, but is keeping its health and children's centre open for essential staff. 

The full email is shown below. At its third quarter conference call on October 14th, Goldman said 30% of its London staff were back in the office, implying that around 2,000 people were working at Plumtree Court. In July, only 900 Goldman people were back and in the March lockdown Goldman operated with a skeleton crew of just 200 in the office in London. 

The implication is that Goldman will now revert to having 200 people in the office and that 1,800 people will go back to working from home.

The firm began actively encouraging employees back into the office in late August and issued free COVID 19 tests for U.K. staff in October, alongside tests to see whether employees already have antibodies to the virus. 

Other banks are likely to send similar emails to their London staff. However, some may wait until after the vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday. JPMorgan bankers said they had not received an update on Sunday evening.

Goldman Sachs' full email to London staff on working in the office during the lockdown:

1 November 2020 
COVID-19: New UK Government Guidelines 

Yesterday, the UK Prime Minister announced a national lockdown effective from Thursday, 5 November. The lockdown is due to last until 2 December, after which the situation is likely to be assessed locally.
In line with the updated measures, as of this Thursday only those who have been designated as in-office essential may come into the office. Your division’s management will confirm whether you fall into this group. For those who are not designated as in-office essential, please make the necessary arrangements to work at home from Thursday, 5 November until further notice. If you have concerns about this, or are unable to effectively work from home, please discuss with your manager. Rest assured, what matters most is your health and wellbeing.
For colleagues coming to the office, please note our facilities will continue to adhere to the latest government guidelines, in addition to the firm’s Wellness protocols. Please continue to complete the attestation via theCanopy application and ensure you fully adhere to the measures put in place to provide a safe working environment, including the wearing of masks at all times, except when at your desk. During this period, we will be closing the on-site Fitness Centre effective from Monday; showers and changing rooms will remain open for commuters. The Health Centre and Children’s Centre will remain open from Thursday onwards to support those who are in-office essential only.
If you have concerns about your health, please contact your GP. If you have any additional questions in relation to the firm’s Wellness protocols, contact EMEA Wellness Exchange.
Thank you for your continued resilience as we adapt to the evolving landscape.


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Photo by Chloe Evans on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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