People pass a sign for JPMorgan Chase at it’s headquarters in Manhattan, New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase on Thursday told managers to implement a plan to have employees based in offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City to start working from home in shifts beginning on Friday.
“We are asking our managers to arrange for no fewer than 25% and no greater than 50% of their team members who can effectively work from home, to begin doing so by the end of this week,” according to a memo obtained by CNBC, which was sent to staff Thursday morning.
The move is likely to be followed be other large New York-area employers: JPMorgan said it was following the request of Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reduce the density of workers at offices and taking mass transit. Still, sending wide swaths of employees home, as tech giants like Google and Amazon have done, signals an escalation in tactics as the coronavirus continues to spread.
JPMorgan said workers would be split up into two or more groups, and that the first stay-at-home shift would last through next Friday. Then, that group returns to the office while others work remotely, a weekly rotation that will be in place “until further notice,” the New York-based firm said. The bank has about 37,000 workers in the New York area, according to Bloomberg, which reported earlier that the bank was sending workers home.
The new mandate excludes traders and bank branch employees, who can’t easily work from home. JPMorgan and other banks, including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, have sent traders to backup sites in New Jersey and Brooklyn starting this week. That’s because highly-regulated trading activities require robust internet connections and specialized work stations only available in offices.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan’s bank branches remain open, with the exception of ones in New Rochelle and Seattle, two hot spots for the coronavirus disease, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The bank is cleaning its branches twice a day in high-impact areas, said another person.
Yesterday, Capital One CEO Rich Fairbank told employees that those who can work from home should do so. The bank increased paid leave and said that it was taking “additional precautions” to increase social distancing in its bank branches.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.