Goldman, Deutsche Ask U.K. Staff to Work at Home on Lockdown

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG have informed staff that only essential employees can work from their U.K. offices after Boris Johnson announced a new nationwide lockdown to arrest a second wave of the coronavirus.

“We will substantially reduce the numbers of colleagues working from the office,” said Tiina Lee, Deutsche Bank’s U.K. chief executive officer, in a memo Sunday. “We must ensure only those that cannot carry out their role from home are in the office.”

Goldman also told the vast majority of its more than 5,000 London employees to work from home from Nov. 5, with only ‘in-office essential’ workers permitted to come to its Plumtree Court building, according to an internal memo Sunday by Richard Gnodde, the bank’s international head.

Goldman and Deutsche Bank spokesmen confirmed the contents of the memos.

Prime Minister Johnson has proposed a fresh lockdown from Thursday, with most shops closing and people being asked to work from home to stop virus cases overwhelming hospitals. Other firms in the City of London are likely to introduce similar measures emptying further London’s already-quiet financial district.

Goldman is closing its office gym starting today, but showers and changing rooms will remain open for commuters. The on-site health center and nursery will remain open to support those coming to the office. Each division’s management will determine who falls into the ‘essential’ category, according to the memo.

The German lender, which employs 8,000 people in the U.K., said in its memo that staff eligible to work from the office will receive an email on Monday night confirming this. All employees at its Frankfurt headquarters who can work remotely should also do so, a spokesman said Monday.

Deutsche Bank and Goldman, along with other banks, had already paused efforts to bring staff back to the office in September when the U.K. government urged people to work from home if they can. The Wall Street bank had returned about 20% of staff at that time to Plumtree Court, its new European headquarters that opened just over a year ago.

Read More: Banks Lead Office-Return Reversal After U.K. Guidance Change

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