In another sign of the corporate world's distaste for remote work, Bank of America is sending out warning to any employees who haven't been making enough regular appearances at their physical offices.
The warnings, called “letters of education,” threaten the employees with “further disciplinary action” if they don't comply within the next two weeks.
Banks were among the first industries to begin pressuring employees to return to the office since the Covid pandemic allowed non-essential workers to operate from their homes. Now, CEOs in general hope to walk back that extra flexibility, and Bank of America is just the latest to make its opinion on the matter clear.
Falling Afoul of BofA's “Workplace Excellence Guidelines”
One letter of education says that not making enough appearances in the workplace will make an employee fail to meet the work location section of the company's “Workplace Excellence Guidelines,” “despite requests and reminders to do so.”
With higher interest rates making layoffs appear to be better business decisions, it seems companies are less interested in the workplace flexibility that would retain workers.
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One employee's letter, which they posted online, reads: “Failure to follow the workplace excellence expectations applicable to your role within two weeks of the date of this notification may result in further disciplinary action.”
Banks May Be Keeping Up With the Joneses
The Financial Times, which covered the news, cites the recruiting firm DHR Global's head of global finance practice, Jeanne Branthover, for an explanation of this new round of return-to-office intimidation.
According to Branthover, the first month of 2024 has kicked off a follow-the-leader trend within the banking industry:
“Sending out these letters, that wasn’t happening before. Once one firm says it is going to do X, then everyone is going to follow.” – Jeanne Branthover
Additional context from the FT includes the fact that 82% of “large financial companies” still offered hybrid work flexibility for “most” of their employees at the end of last year.
Getting Remote Work in 2024
Bank of America isn't the only option for finding work, and if you're exclusively looking to work from home, you still have a wealth of options. Just this month, we've covered the top remote jobs now available from big tech names including Google, Amazon, and that pinacle of remote-work freedom, Microsoft.
Freelance work might also be an option, and can power a digital nomad lifestyle in a range of different countries around the world.
If remote work is for you, there are plenty of benefits: Studies indicate better health and happiness, while many organizations report no drops in productivity and some even see higher revenues with the right work-from-home policies in place.