Wells Fargo has laid out a return-to-work strategy that includes a first wave of remote employees coming into the office after Labor Day and others heading back sometime in October.

In a memo distributed Friday to U.S. employees, the San Francisco company said that employees do not have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to the office, but they also cannot use their unvaccinated status to keep working at home. Starting Monday, the company will collect data about whether employees have received the vaccine.

Workers in operations and call centers will be the first to be called back, starting the week of Sept. 7, and will adhere to temporary rotational schedules in which they spend some days or weeks in the office and the rest of their time working remotely.

Approximately 200,000 Wells Fargo employees worked remotely during the height of the pandemic, while close to 100,000, mostly branch employees, have remained onsite throughout the health crisis.

Wes Frazer/Bloomberg

“We believe our success depends on our employees becoming increasingly collaborative and innovative, and that we all benefit from seeing our colleagues on a regular basis,” Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell wrote to employees. “When we are together, it is easier to build relationships, get in-the-moment coaching, identify the next career opportunity, brainstorm ideas and learn more about the customers and communities we serve.”

Companies across the country are bringing workers back to the office now that vaccines are widely available and the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped.

In the banking industry, where most non-branch employees shifted to remote work in March 2020, return-to-work strategies are creating a divide, as some companies demand that their employees come back on a full-time basis while others take a less strict approach.

JPMorgan Chase told all U.S. employees to resume normal office schedules on July 6, while Bank of America is encouraging vaccinated workers to come back now through Labor Day.

At Citigroup, employees are still returning on a voluntary basis. In a LinkedIn post earlier this month, Citi human resources head Sarah Wechter said the New York bank expects “nearly all colleagues to be back in the office in September, at least a portion of the time.”

At Wells Fargo, approximately 200,000 employees worked remotely during the height of the pandemic, while close to 100,000, mostly branch employees, have remained onsite throughout the health crisis. Like other companies, Wells has repeatedly delayed reopening offices due to surges in the virus and early vaccination hiccups.

Now, Wells Fargo’s back-to-office plans will be organized by job function and location, and flexibility will vary, the company said. But the details on such flexibility are still fuzzy.

Technology, corporate and back-office employees of the $1.9 trillion-asset bank will return in October, according to the memo. They will be offered at least some degree of flexibility in terms of how many days they spend in the office and how many days they work from home.

For technology teams, Wells “will allow more flexibility to work remotely,” while corporate and back-office staffers may have the option of splitting their weeks between office and home, spending at least three days a week in the office, the company said.

What flexibility looks like for call center teams is not yet clear. Wells said management is trying to figure out “how to best offer flexibility for contact center and operations roles going forward” and that the ability to work remotely will depend on factors such as the type of job and individual employees’ experience.

By Mr.Naz

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