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Suit up: Banks and hedge funds want you back in office for 2023

Worldwide, there has been a seismic shift in the nature of work across all industries. It’s easy to believe the workplace will never be the same again.

In finance, though, executives are trying their damnedest to make the “new normal” the old normal. 2022 was not nearly as alternative as 2021, and it's likely that 2023 will be more like 2018 in terms of working at home, or not.

The 1,500 people who responded to our end of year survey said last year was far more in-office than before. And as the chart below shows, analysts were far more likely to be back in the office than anyone else. - On average, they said they were spending 3.9 days in the office each week, compared to 3.4  days for managing directors (MDs).  

Goldman Sachs put the pressure on

Goldman Sachs and its CEO, David Solomon, have become infamous for their staunch resistance to hybrid work. Though not everyone at Goldman is back in the office full time yet, many are seeing their time in office greatly increase.

A female technologist in Singapore told us that a “soft three days mandate” exists, but said she's happy to go in, finding it “fun and practical to socialize with colleagues.” She recently increased her days in office to three, having previously worked fully from home.

Others aren’t so happy. A Goldman analyst in New York told us he's seen his days in the office double, feeling “peer pressure” to work in person while a GS technologist complained that he was “forced by sociopaths” to come into the office, having increased to two days a week from none at all.

Technologists split over WFH

While some technologists are complaining bitterly about being back in the office, others are happy with the commute and the in-office community.

A Goldman Sachs VP in Bangalore told us he's doubled his days in office as it allows for better collaboration, while a JPMorgan VP who's in 4 days a week said it’s “more efficient” in person.

For many technologists, though, remote working is better and banks simply aren’t doing enough to support it. A Credit Suisse VP said, “inefficient IT solutions are preventing effective collaboration remotely.” A Citi technologist who's now in the office full time blamed his return on pressure from his bosses.

Hedge funds continue the push back into the office

Hedge funds are notoriously more demanding of their staff. 50% of respondents from hedge funds told us they're back in office five days a week, compared to 35% last year.

Hedge fund professionals seem to like this way of working, though.  One hedge respondent said he'd gone from one day in the office to three after feeling “bored at home;” a director had gone from zero to five to get away from his “babies at home.”

Working in the office doesn't always imply success, however. A female VP in Hong Kong blamed her return to full time office work on management’s attitude. She added that the firm didn't do as well in 2022 as 2021, and may fire people as a result.

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Photo by Teddy Joseph:

AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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