Mar 1, 2024 - Business

U.S. Bank ratchets up pressure for employees to come back to the office

Illustration of a large hand pushing a reluctant smaller businessman forward.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. Bank is done asking its workers to come back into the office. Now it's telling them they need to be in at least three days a week, and their performance review depends on it.

Why it matters: Thousands of corporate employees in the Twin Cities will need to adjust their lifestyles, while merchants in both downtowns and Hopkins will appreciate more customers.

The big picture: Big banks were among the first to call workers back into the office in 2021, when government social distancing restrictions eased.

Behind the scenes: In a memo sent to employees in January, executives Elcio Barcelos and Mark Runkel noted that many frontline employees have been working in person for years.

  • The changes are "designed to bring more consistency to your work experience, promote our one U.S. Bank culture, and ensure you are engaged in a productive and supportive environment that feels inclusive and rewarding," the memo, obtained by Axios, reads.

How it works: Employees' attendance is logged into the company's HR software and it will be part of performance reviews, per the memo.

  • U.S. Bank is creating 24 hub cities and employees who live within 30 miles of those cities will be required to come into offices, even if they were hired to remote positions during the pandemic.

Between the lines: U.S. Bank downsized its office footprint here in the Twin Cities, closing its Richfield facility and moving those employees to Hopkins and downtown Minneapolis.

What we're hearing: Employees raised concerns to the company's executives about overcrowding in the offices. While they are still working in person fewer days a week, many workers choose Tuesday through Thursday.

  • Leaders said they're working to ensure workspaces are productive.

What we're watching: Company leaders want in-person collaboration and also feel the pressure from downtown boosters and other back-to-office proponents. But they need to balance that with talent retention.

  • U.S. Bank wrote in a Q&A document shared with employees that it expects some workers to quit and take jobs with more flexible work arrangements and will be monitoring attrition closely.

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