Wells Fargo Says Office Return to Look ‘Mostly’ Like Pre-Covid

Wells Fargo & Co., the U.S. bank with the most employees, is laying out a back-to-office plan set to begin in September, telling staff their schedules will look a lot like they did before the pandemic.

The San Francisco-based firm, which has almost 260,000 workers, will start calling those who have been working remotely back to the office on Sept. 7, and the process will continue through October, according to an internal memo Friday. It will also begin collecting employees’ vaccination statuses next week.

“When we return, our schedules will mostly resemble our pre-pandemic working approach, with additional flexibility,” Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell wrote in the memo. “Choosing not to get vaccinated will not influence your ability to work remotely.”

U.S. banking giants have been forging ahead with back-to-office plans in recent weeks, sketching out approaches that vary in flexibility. Wells Fargo said in March that it aimed to return to a “more normal operating model” in September, with details to follow.

Like its peers, Wells Fargo is closely watching the delta variant of the coronavirus as the bank moves forward with plans to bring employees back, Powell said in an interview.

“If something dramatic starts to happen with the variants, we would change our plans if we have to change our plans,” Powell said.

Employees in operations and contact centers will return on a rotational basis, which the firm expects will be temporary, according to the memo. Workers in enterprise functions such as risk, finance and legal, as well as non-customer-facing teams in the business lines, will have flexibility to work remotely as many as two days a week. Technology employees will have more flexibility to work remotely.

“We’ve learned a lot over the last 16 months about providing employees with flexibility, but at the same time we still think it’s very important to come together in our various workplaces,” Powell said. “I think about my own career, how different it would’ve been if I didn’t get feedback and have the opportunity to learn on the job and learn how things got done.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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