Morgan Stanley CEO expects NYC workers to return to the office

It may not be what many Morgan Stanley employees want to hear but CEO James Gorman doesn't seem to mind. The head of one of the country's biggest banks is telling its New York workforce that it is time to return to the office.

"If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office," Gorman said. "We want you in the office."

Gorman made the comments on the same day the Empire State lifted the remaining COVID restrictions. He was directing his comments to those who hope to continue working remotely and those who relocated during the pandemic.

"If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York," he said. "None of this 'I'm in Colorado getting paid like I'm sitting in New York City.' Sorry, that doesn't work."

Gorman recognized that Morgan Stanley is a global firm and that its needs are different in different countries. But as for New York, being back in an office is no longer an unsafe proposition.

"COVID forced remote work on companies," Barry Drexler, an expert interview coach, said. "If it made sense for companies, they would have done it pre-COVID."

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The problem with a fully remote staff, Drexler believes, is the loss of productivity.

That might be a hard sell when Morgan Stanley's profits are up. In April, the company reported $4.1 billion in profit for the first three months of the year.

"It is very challenging for managers to lead staff when they can't see them," Drexler said.

Morgan Stanley isn't alone. American Express is requiring its employees to be in the office three days per week. And Goldman Sachs wants employees back on July 14.