Wells Fargo makes another major change to its return to office plans during COVID

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After postponing its return to the office three times, Wells Fargo has delayed its return to the office yet again, this time indefinitely, the bank said in a statement Monday.

“Given the changing external environment, we are delaying our return to office plans,” the bank said in a statement to the Observer. “We are continuing to closely monitor the environment with the health and well-being of our employees as our priority.”

The move comes as coronavirus cases have been on the rise in North Carolina and across the country as the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads. The last report on COVID-19 cases before the Christmas holiday showed a jump of 2,000 new N.C. cases in one day.

Wells Fargo said it will provide employees with updated plans in the new year. The bank had most recently set Jan. 10 as the launch date for a broad return to the office.

It is one of the biggest employers in Charlotte.

Wells Fargo is based in San Francisco but has its largest employment hub here, with more than 27,000 workers in the city. The bank employs more than 260,000 total workers.

The bank’s facilities remain open to vaccinated employees on a voluntary basis, Wells Fargo said. About 100,000 employees have been coming in to a Wells Fargo location throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of delays at Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo originally planned to start bringing employees back to in-person work just after Labor Day. Over the summer, it told workers in departments like finance, corporate risk and human resources that they’d need to be in the office a minimum of three days a week.

“We are encouraging all employees to spend more time in shared workspaces,” chief operating office Scott Powell said at the time in an internal memo.

But then, the COVID-19 delta variant spread rapidly through the U.S. Wells Fargo postponed the return to October, then November, then to early January.

Bank of America, Truist return to office plans

Charlotte’s other big banks have already brought workers back to their buildings in uptown.

Bank of America said all vaccinated employees could voluntarily return to the office in July. Truist kicked off its return to in-person work in October and will bring back more employees next month, the bank said Monday.

Some other big employers around Charlotte also have seen workers return to their offices.

Honeywell recently invited all Charlotte employees back to its new 23-story headquarters on South Mint Street, after beginning a gradual return to the office in August. Employees returned on a flexible schedule, and worked with their managers to determine their breakdown of in-person and remote work during the week.

Honeywell is requiring that all U.S. workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. Charlotte’s three biggest banks —Wells Fargo, Truist and Bank of America — are encouraging but not requiring that workers get their shot.

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