Capital One says two workdays each week will be fully virtual

Capital One Financial is the latest bank to switch to a hybrid work environment — eliminating firm requirements on coming to the office and announcing that Mondays and Fridays will be virtual work days.

The McLean, Virginia-based company is giving its teams flexibility to decide how to foster in-person collaboration, and it is not mandating that employees work in the office a certain number of days, CEO Richard Fairbank told employees in a memo.

“We collectively discovered something remarkable during this pandemic. Remote work is not a niche opportunity — it works at scale in the mainstream,” Fairbank wrote.

McLean, Virginia-based Capital One is showing more openness to work-from-home arrangements than numerous other big banks.

Capital One’s approach differs from what many big banks are planning. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman drew attention this month for saying “if you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office.”

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan has said “we are a work-from-office company,” citing improved productivity and culture. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has said that he wants employees back in the office this fall and that he is “about to cancel all my Zoom meetings.”

Other banks are considering a more flexible approach or have not yet landed on a plan. Ally Financial and TD Bank, for example, are considering hybrid approaches. Stamford, Connecticut-based Synchrony said in September 2020 that all of its employees can now work from home permanently.

More than half of bank industry employees want to keep working remotely, according to a recent survey of industry professionals conducted by Arizent, the parent company of American Banker. More than seven out of 10 respondents think their employer is likely to offer some workplace flexibility going forward, the survey found.

Capital One is looking to reopen its U.S. offices to all employees on Sept. 7, and returning will be “strongly encouraged but not mandatory,” according to Fairbank’s memo.

“As this pandemic fully plays out, and at least through the end of this year, we recognize that some associates will have circumstances or concerns that may make it difficult to come into the office,” Fairbank wrote.

The company’s offices will be fully open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and Fairbank told employees that Capital One is encouraging them to “spend meaningful time there in collaboration with their colleagues.”

Capital One will still allow some employees to work remotely full time if they get approval from senior executives, though the memo said that the bank expects most employees to work in the new hybrid model. It plans to share more information on fully remote options later this year.

Earlier this year, the $425 billion-asset Capital One announced that most of its contact center and operations associates can work from home indefinitely.

Capital One is encouraging all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, asking that any unvaccinated employees wear a mask in the office.

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