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Truist tightens in-office attendance policy

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Truist’s investment bankers must work from the office every weekday beginning June 1, the bank said Wednesday in a memo seen by Bloomberg.

Beyond that, the company’s hybrid employees — which account for the majority of Truist’s workforce — will be required, starting this fall, to work in-office four days a week, a spokesperson told the wire service.

Both moves represent a tightening — by one day a week — in the expectation for in-office work: Truist Securities had been required to work four days a week from the office, a spokesperson said. Truist announced a three-day-a-week in-office policy for its hybrid workers last July.

Truist has found “increasing in-person interactions allows us to reinvigorate a connected culture,” the spokesperson said in an email to Bloomberg.

Top leadership at Wall Street banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have been arguing for five-day-a-week in-office work — especially for investment bankers — since at least 2021.

Four- and five-day-a-week in-office policies at one of the U.S.’s super-regional banks mark a tonal shift away from the flexibility that was championed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Bank, another super-regional, last month began requiring its hybrid employees to work from the office three days a week.

The true measure of the impact of Truist’s policy shift may be in its enforcement. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender is, after all, undergoing “sizable reductions.” The bank laid out its aim in September to save $750 million in costs by this time next year.

If in-office attendance becomes a factor in performance evaluations, it may, at the least, prompt employees who are attached to remote-work arrangements to search for jobs elsewhere. At its most severe, it could be a layoff generator.

Citi, for example, told its managers last June to discuss the bank’s office-attendance policy with employees who regularly fail to comply with it. That directive came ahead of midyear performance conversations at the bank — and, it turns out, Citi’s largest reorganization since the 2007-08 financial crisis. The bank has since said it could trim 20,000 jobs by 2026.

Other banks have been issuing nudges to employees who regularly flout company attendance policy.

Bank of America last fall began sending “letters of education” to infrequent in-office workers, warning of potential disciplinary action.

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, issued a policy “reminder” last August.

“While there is flexibility when needed, we are simply reminding our employees of our existing policy,” Goldman’s human resources chief, Jacqueline Arthur, said in a statement at the time. “We have continued to encourage employees to work in the office five days a week.”

Goldman, like Truist and Citi, had, months earlier, undergone several rounds of job cuts.

Truist joins Deutsche Bank and the aforementioned U.S. Bank among lenders tightening their office-attendance expectations for workers this year. Deutsche in February announced it would require its managers, starting in June, to work from the office four days a week, while all other staff must come in at least three.

JPMorgan Chase’s operating committee last April told managing directors at the bank it expects them in the office every weekday.

“Our leaders play a critical role in reinforcing our culture and running our businesses,” the committee wrote. “They have to be visible on the floor, they must meet with clients, they need to teach and advise, and they should always be accessible for immediate feedback and impromptu meetings. We need them to lead by example.”

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