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Traders can take the office, but not the Tube

If the people won’t come to the office post-lockdown, maybe the office must come to the people.


There is a lot of earnest talk right now over how flexible banks will be in allowing – maybe even requiring – staff to continue working from home in the months ahead.

Speaking after Barclays first-quarter results at the end of April, chief executive Jes Staley said: “The notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past.”

Anyone who has made the mistake of a booking a lunchtime meeting in any banking tower in Canary Wharf or Manhattan and has any good ideas about how to social distance in the elevators at that time of day will find a lot of senior executives eager to hear them.

Adena Friedman, president and chief executive of Nasdaq, discussed trading floors on the day after the return to work with David Rubenstein, co-founder of Carlyle in May.

“We will ask people if they want to come back voluntarily,” Friedman said, “and if they feel they can do it in a safe way, then we would like to start to reopen offices to give them that flexibility.

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