Following reports last month describing JPMorgan Chase’s tracking of employees’ attendance, workplace experts say the tactics could be short-sighted.
Four anonymous bankers told Business Insider in April that managing and executive directors were monitoring swipes of ID badges used to enter buildings, the data from which is used to enforce post-COVID back-to-work quotas. Now, the potential backlash could hinder productivity and satisfaction rather than help it, some observers say.
“Women, people with disabilities, and people of color all have a preference for remote work – not only are Goldman and JPMorgan upsetting employees, they’ll face issues of diversity if they continue on this,” Nicholas Bloom, Economics Professor at Stanford and Co-founder of WFH Research, told Fortune. “That’s just another cost I don’t think they’re aware of.”
Bloom also questions what executives would do with the information that an employee was not going into the office for the required number of days. About 10% are allowed to work remotely all the time, 50% must come in half the time, and 40% must come in three days a week, according to Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon’s April shareholder letter.
If an employee fails to meet expectations, Bloom said, the bank has two poor options: overlook or penalize. Neither is a smart move, he told Fortune, noting that the highly qualified JPMorgan workforce could find employment at competing firms.
Additionally, the strategy shows a lack of respect for employees’ decision-making about where they are most effective.
“Everyone there is super ambitious; they’re stars of their class, not slackers,” he said. “They’d generally do anything to improve their career. In-office mandates being unpopular should show that it’s not important.”
Though companies have been monitoring attendance for decades, preferring to have employees under their physical roofs, the practice may be outdated in today’s world.
“The most successful hybrid companies shift that focus to how to support the work that happens,” Zach Dunn, Co-founder of Robin, a hybrid workplace management platform, told Fortune. “If we think of the office as a tool to use, we can start focusing on how to make it as useful as possible for the workers that access it.”
JPMorgan Chase employees have been complaining about the policy on Blind, an anonymous corporate message board.