You’re ‘nuts’ if you’re not in the office



Young master of the universe-in-training without a spouse or kids? Get back to the office.

That appears to be the common refrain of Morgan Stanley’s execs as the bank’s leaders continue to beat the drum to get people to return to in-person work.

“If you’re 21 to 35, you are nuts not to be in the office all the time,” Chris O’Dea, a Morgan Stanley managing director, said on a conference call last week.

It’s the prime time to be soaking up knowledge from older, more experienced bankers — and it’s not going to happen in your PJs on a Zoom call, Morgan Stanley brass contend.

Earlier this year Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said he’d be “disappointed” if employees of all ages didn’t return to their desks by Labor Day — and said that those who didn’t return could face a pay cut. 

The bank has yet to mandate employees return five days a week as Goldman Sachs has. But most employees, including analysts, have chosen to return, a source with direct knowledge told The Post.

Most people who self-select for a competitive job are motivated to build a career, get to know people and put themselves out there, this person adds.

And for months, Morgan Stanley senior leadership has driven home the importance of face-to-face work.

“I fundamentally believe the way you and I develop our career is by being mentored and by watching and experiencing the professional skills of those who came before us,” Gorman said over the summer. “You can’t do that sitting at home by yourself — there’s a limit to Zoom technology.”

Of course, Gorman and O’Dea aren’t alone in emphasizing the importance of returning to the office. 

james gorman
In June, Gorman chided employees who hadn’t returned to their desks, “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office.”
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The debate over working from home has roiled major banks on Wall Street. At Goldman Sachs, most Big Apple staff were required to be back at their desks in June. JPMorgan Chase brought back staff in July with the goal of keeping 10 percent of the company’s 225,000 workforce at home permanently.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, firms like Citi and UBS have sought a more flexible approach that emphasizes lifestyle considerations.

UBS — Switzerland’s largest bank — is striking a difference from its American counterparts and is letting most employees permanently work from home at least some of the time. 

morgan stanley
James Gorman threatened to cut wages if employees didn’t return to the office, “If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York.”
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Citi, run by CEO Jane Fraser, cited childcare issues as the reason she’s waiting to force staff back in.

Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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