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JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of Wall Street’s staunchest advocates of returning to Manhattan skyscrapers, is offering employees the option of working from home in the opening weeks of 2022, and Citigroup Inc. is encouraging staff to log on remotely, as more financial firms grapple with the latest surge in Covid-19 infections.

“We are not changing our long-term plans of working in the office," JPMorgan told staff in a memo on Thursday. “However, with the increase in holiday travel and gatherings, we are allowing for more flexibility during the first two weeks of January to work from home (if your role allows) at your manager’s discretion."

Employees are expected to resume their in-office schedules by Feb. 1, JPMorgan said.

Citigroup already was among other major U.S. banks that had loosened workplace policies in recent weeks, inviting staff across the New York metropolitan area to work remotely over the holidays. Now, “we are asking that you work from home for the first few weeks of the New Year if you are able to do so," the bank said in a memo Thursday. “We will continue to monitor the data and provide an update in January on when we expect to be back in the office."

The New York region has been hit hard by this winter’s jump in infections, raising concerns about what will happen at office towers and in schools after families return from gatherings or vacations in coming days. That’s forced a number of banks to revise staffing strategies in recent weeks, with a number of them easing off mandates to commute to buildings.

Jefferies Financial Group Inc. asked staff earlier this month to work remotely and get a vaccine booster by the end of January. Morgan Stanley told employees who have to be in the office through the first two weeks of January to limit large in-person meetings and to wear face coverings when not at their desks.

And earlier this week, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- which, like JPMorgan, had required U.S. employees to return to offices in mid-2021 -- told staff that it will mandate booster vaccinations and double testing to twice weekly, even as it stood by its work-from-office plans.

JPMorgan said it’s encouraging employees to get boosters -- and that it may ratchet up the pressure. 

“To be considered fully vaccinated may soon mean that a booster will also be required to enter our buildings," the bank wrote in the memo. Unvaccinated staff, it noted, must be tested twice weekly when working in offices.

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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