LONDON: Goldman Sachs Group Inc is reopening offices, including Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan, as its European operations begin to re-emerge from shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus.
The US bank invited workers to return to the Frankfurt office last week, but only if they wanted to do so, according to a staff memo seen by Bloomberg News and confirmed by a bank spokesman.
In London, Goldman closed its suburban backup site in March and has had about 200 people, mostly in sales and trading, working from its main offices, a spokesman said.
As virus cases ebb and governments relax lockdowns, major firms are turning their attention to the thorny problem of safely running offices in the center of major cities. Banks that need staff on premises to run complex trading systems are being closely watched as a model for the rest of the economy.
Goldman has split its 300-strong Frankfurt team into three groups, which can rotate between home working and its Marienturm and Messeturm buildings. “Returning is in no way mandatory and everyone is encouraged to adopt an approach that works for them, ” the memo said.
Returning staff are also asked to complete a health survey and don masks when entering and exiting the building, and in communal areas such as pantries, cafes and bathrooms, the memo showed.
The bank will provide masks for those who need them.
Workers must keep a strict two meters away from others in the office, and conference rooms can only be used by a single person.
The bank has also spaced out seating, reduced elevator capacity and banned visitors and client meetings.
Goldman is also reopening offices in Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Stockholm and Dublin, with each adopting similar protocols.
In London’s Canary Wharf financial district, which houses the European headquarters of banks including HSBC Holdings Plc, Barclays Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co, similar measures are being considered.
The landlord that operates the district said last week that returning workers can expect one-way entrances and no more than six in an elevator across the estate’s skyscrapers and stores. — Bloomberg
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