The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has prompted Wall Street mainstay Wells Fargo to allow some staff to work from home — but only those who don’t come in contact with the general public.
It’s a move that’s rattled some employees, Reuters reports. “I can’t believe they aren’t letting us work from home all week yet,” one Wells Fargo mortgage banker told reporters.
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New York is expected to soon impose a “shelter in place” order in response to the COVID-19 threat. This could see movement of more than 8 million people limited to those with essential jobs, such as healthcare workers, police officers, and even bankers.
That’s because the US Department of Homeland Security considers financial services a critical infrastructure industry, which means tellers and investment bankers could be required to continue showing up to otherwise empty offices.
Wells Fargo ordered 30K hand sanitizer pumps to fight coronavirus
To prepare for the long haul, players like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have already enacted partial work from home policies, splitting teams into groups and rotating them between homes and offices.
Some banks, like Barclays, have faced criticism from staff for comparatively slow response. According to Reuters’ sources, Barclays execs were asked during a conference call on Sunday why staff were in offices considering governments worldwide had urged people to stay home. By Wednesday, the firm had ordered everyone outside of critical staff to work from home.
Earlier this month, Hard Fork reported Citigroup had even gone so far as to install up to eight monitors in employees’ houses to mirror trading room floors.
As for the response at Wells Fargo, the firm is looking to boost network bandwidth and acquire more laptops to accommodate employees working from home.
It also reportedly ordered over 30,000 hand sanitizer pumps and disinfectant wipes, as well as 2,000 hand sanitizer stands. One worker still felt supply was scarce.