Wells Fargo asks employees to return to office in mid-March

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Wells Fargo logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

(Reuters) -Most of Wells Fargo (NYSE:) & Co’s employees, including those in customer-facing roles, will return to their offices on March 14 and work under a hybrid flexible model, according to a company memo seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The bank had delayed plans https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/wells-fargo-will-announce-new-plans-full-employee-return-new-year-statement-2021-12-21 to bring its staff back to the office in December, citing “changing external environment” amid the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. At the time, it had said it would announce plans for a full return in the new year.

The San Francisco-based bank’s announcement comes a little over a week after Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:) ushered its U.S.-based staff back to the office https://www.reuters.com/business/goldman-sachs-leads-us-banks-return-office-2022-02-01, with several of its rivals set to follow a similar return this month as the number of COVID-19 cases drop.

Contact center employees and those in operations will return shortly after staff employees resume work from office, the memo said, adding that there is no change to the work schedules for essential employees.

The bank allowed voluntary early return for U.S. staff starting on Wednesday, as well as to resume business meetings, client visits and travel, provided they are fully vaccinated.

While Wells Fargo is encouraging vaccinations including booster shots, it has not made it mandatory.

Fully vaccinated staff can choose not to wear a mask, subject to local restrictions, while the unvaccinated employees are subject to testing requirements and must wear a mask at all times.

The bank had 254,000 employees, as of September-end, and about 100,000 of them have been reporting to the workplace throughout the pandemic.

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