NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Citigroup has told staff
in the New York Tri-State area to start returning to the office
from Feb. 7, while BNP Paribas is targeting the same
date for U.S. staff after recently postponing its
return-to-office plans by nearly a month due to the Omicron
Wall Street firms were among the first to encourage staff to
return to offices, but a winter wave of COVID-19 infections
driven by Omicron has forced many to rethink https://www.reuters.com/business/corporate-america-revamps-back-to-office-plans-omicron-threat-2022-01-11
their plans and review their vaccination policies in recent
"With what happened with Omicron, we wanted to go back into
a more conservative mode. So we only have people in the office
if there's a business critical need for them to be in," said
Kevin Abraszek, head of HR change and transformation at BNP
Paribas in New York.
Citigroup, which sent staff at its New York metro area
office home in mid-December as Omicron spread, has asked staff
to prepare for a return to the office starting on Feb. 7, a
person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.
In other locations, return-to-office plans are still on
pause and the bank will continue to monitor the data, the same
person said. Staff will be expected to be in the at least two
days a week, as was its policy before the holidays.
Citigroup said this month U.S. employees who had not been
vaccinated against COVID by Jan. 14 would be placed on unpaid
leave and fired https://reut.rs/3AiL3jk at the end of the month
unless they were granted an exemption and accommodation.
BNP Paribas, which employs nearly 14,000 people in the
United States, will expect U.S. employees to work at least one
day a week in the office once they return, similar to its policy
late last year before Omicron struck.
A bank spokesperson said the return to office policy applied
only for investment banking employees, not for employees of BNP
Paribas' U.S. retail arm, Bank of the West.
Abraszek said vaccination against COVID-19 was a requirement
to be in the office, but the bank was allowing employees who
have not been vaccinated to continue working from home.
"I think we're going to continue to look at that decision
and that policy in the early part of this year," he said.
The bank plans to bring capacity back up to 50% gradually
once employees start to return, said Abraszek.
"We were generally skewing around 25% to 30% late last
year," he said. "We'll probably reach that level and then our
hope is that over the course of the spring, and certainly into
the summer, that we will get closer to that 50%."
Goldman Sachs Group Inc recently delayed https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-goldman-sachs-idCNL4N2TT38R
its return-to-office date from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1.
(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by David Clarke,
Kirsten Donovan and Aurora Ellis)