WFH as the new normal?

Have any funds begun thinking about being more flexible about full-time WFH? I can imagine some people are realizing people can do work somewhere other than the office, while others can't wait to be back in an office.

My fund is likely in the latter but my wife really likes that I'm WFH.

Comments (44)

May 10, 2020

We are expecting feedback from MC this week. most likely WFH until 2021 with some time at the office (and with masks, distancing, no lifts, etc)

May 10, 2020

same question for Banks

... implementing a culture more > could be a nice way to enhance work life balance with less facing, better productivity... people happier...and thus less turnover.

one or two allowed WFH days per week would be perfect and a boost to the value proposition of a life as a young banker

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  • Prospect in Other
May 10, 2020
Corpbanking:

one or two allowed WFH days per week would be perfect and a boost to the value proposition of a life as a young banker

Isn't that called the weekend?

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May 10, 2020

you obviously don't work in banking

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May 10, 2020

I know several people that have started new jobs during the quarantine both buyside and sellside and have never set foot in their new offices.

If finance went flexible/remote it would be transformative. I have friends in big law that only go into the office for meetings. I could see retention rates and morale go up exponentially if people could live in Florida and work for KKR/Goldman/etc. in NY

May 11, 2020

FLORIDA - ya buddy that's what I'm talking about. My wife HATES NY. I'm talkin absolute Tiger King vs. Carole Baskin DISTAIN against the city. We come from a small simple swampy panhandle town where the highest paid profession is the local gator wrestler. We're hoping to move back there to my mom and pop's opossum ranch where I'll set up shop on our back porch. I'm a little worried about the slow internet, snakes and murder hornets but hey, its a good simple life down in the swamp

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May 12, 2020

How was that Fortnite concert? Heard it was lit

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 11, 2020

Fuck yes, Miami>NYC

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May 17, 2020
DistressedInvestor:

I know several people that have started new jobs during the quarantine both buyside and sellside and have never set foot in their new offices.

If finance went flexible/remote it would be transformative. I have friends in big law that only go into the office for meetings. I could see retention rates and morale go up exponentially if people could live in Florida and work for KKR/Goldman/etc. in NY

I would strongly consider moving to a lake town and getting the f8ck out of D.C.

Jun 11, 2020

The question will be if companies still pay you the same, or if they go the Facebook route and adjust your pay accordingly based on where you live.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - FI
May 10, 2020

Given that this thing is totally out of control in the US, I don't see another realistic option for firms. If you open up and all your associates get it, they might be young but they'll still be knocked out for months. Lots of data points on VC twitter of people feeling beaten down by this thing 50 days into it.

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May 11, 2020
Analyst 1 in AM - FI:

Given that this thing is totally out of control in the US, I don't see another realistic option for firms. If you open up and all your associates get it, they might be young but they'll still be knocked out for months. Lots of data points on VC twitter of people feeling beaten down by this thing 50 days into it.

My wife doesn't want to live in the city my fund is located in... so im actually hopeful that things shift toward flex-location.

May 17, 2020

lol jesus christ take a valium or something. Young people aren't getting knocked out for months except for extremely rare exceptions.

May 11, 2020

The logic favoring WFH is really strong on paper. Flexibility, no commute, lower office cost etc. Irrefutable.

But something in my gut just feels like it isn't going to take off. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it's just the fact that the ability existed a long time ago (side topic: why do people pretend Slack and Zoom are groundbreaking?) and it didn't take off back then, so I'm doubting that it will now.

Good topic, curious to see what folks say.

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  • Incoming Analyst in S&T - Other
May 12, 2020

Not disputing you, but I'd imagine that's why people describe events like these as catalysts.

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May 12, 2020

Hear ya. Great recession and aftermath put a lot of revenue pressure on companies, the cost advantages of WFH were there but it didn't become a thing. 2016-2019 economy put a lot of labor cost pressure on companies, and again WFH could've relieved that but it didn't. This event is much bigger and has more potential to catalyze. Just wonder if it will

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May 16, 2020
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

Hear ya. Great recession and aftermath put a lot of revenue pressure on companies, the cost advantages of WFH were there but it didn't become a thing. 2016-2019 economy put a lot of labor cost pressure on companies, and again WFH could've relieved that but it didn't. This event is much bigger and has more potential to catalyze. Just wonder if it will

It already has, we aren't going back to the office for the remainder of the year. Once the cost/benefit analysis is done and they realize they can push hardware and internet expenses on us, save money on rent and facilities costs, have us work longer hours and have us cheering for it...there's no going back.

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May 17, 2020

You're selling it well.

There's office rent like you said, and then all the money employees save by not having to live near work. All those big-city rents no longer being paid, all that saved commute time.

But productivity loss is hard to measure. The value of seeing colleagues and clients in person is hard to measure.

Then there's second order effects. Tenant plans to cut office space by 40%, and landlord offers rate cut. Today's landlord can't cut too far because he needs to cover his interest expense, but what if he hands his lender the keys? Once interest expense is out of the picture, rents can fall a long way and still leave the building cash flowing. I wouldn't be surprised if a 60-70% lower rent could still cover maintenance cost in some of these top-end markets. What happens to WFH if rent drops that far.

Ultimately I don't disagree, I'm just less confident in the overall magnitude people are expecting.

Most Helpful
May 17, 2020
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

You're selling it well.

There's office rent like you said, and then all the money employees save by not having to live near work. All those big-city rents no longer being paid, all that saved commute time.

But productivity loss is hard to measure. The value of seeing colleagues and clients in person is hard to measure.

Then there's second order effects. Tenant plans to cut office space by 40%, and landlord offers rate cut. Today's landlord can't cut too far because he needs to cover his interest expense, but what if he hands his lender the keys? Once interest expense is out of the picture, rents can fall a long way and still leave the building cash flowing. I wouldn't be surprised if a 60-70% lower rent could still cover maintenance cost in some of these top-end markets. What happens to WFH if rent drops that far.

Ultimately I don't disagree, I'm just less confident in the overall magnitude people are expecting.

Selling what? This is the chatter among MDs that someone above them apparently was talking about. And who said anything about productivity loss? NOT being interrupted every few minutes or trying to focus while people around you talk has enabled far greater productivity. Plus people don't rush out the door first chance they get, they'll break for dinner and some family time then put in a few more hours in the evening. Some folks wake up and work while it's just and they're I'm frankly surprised by how many 6:30AM emails I get when there's no real need for them to be up that early.

If anything, people are more productive because they're not wasting as much time on stuff that doesn't matter.

Only real downside I've seen is not being able to go tap someone in the shoulder to ask a quick question but there's this thing called "messenger" and as long as you don't abuse it and get ignored, you can pretty much get a quick answer...in writing. Plus now that every meeting is online, people can multitask better whereas before if I was in a two hour session in person with senior execs you weren't getting an answer for...two hours.

As far as the landlord needing to make payments: not my problem. Having people go all the way to an office to build models and check email or make phone calls is an obsolete and grossly inefficient way of working. If RE can't adapt, they die and someone else picks up the assets and then finds another use for them. Such is the world.

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May 12, 2020
Dr. Rahma Dikhinmahas:

The logic favoring WFH is really strong on paper. Flexibility, no commute, lower office cost etc. Irrefutable.

But something in my gut just feels like it isn't going to take off. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it's just the fact that the ability existed a long time ago (side topic: why do people pretend Slack and Zoom are groundbreaking?) and it didn't take off back then, so I'm doubting that it will now.

Good topic, curious to see what folks say.

Its the same reason bloomberg still looks like it runs on DOS. Finance is an old boys club that's still run by the old guard that just refuse to change or adapt.

I strongly believe retention issues would be mostly resolved if you gave people more flexibility. Im not saying let some 23 year old kid go fuck off in Cambodia or Brazil.. but allowing people to live within say a 2 hr flight radius is fair.

Jun 11, 2020

I have the same feeling. I asked a group head at my IB specifically about this. He was adamant that once the decision is made for people to start heading back to the office, the WFH option, while attractive to the sleepless and overworked junior folks, would be a thing of the past.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
May 11, 2020

Depends on how your group head and seniors view it. If they're chill people and WFH a lot anyways before this thing, then they will most likely support it. If they were huge in the office type people, then you'll get less buy-in.

May 12, 2020
tbateman:

I personally dislike WFH, I miss being in an office and talking to my coworkers who I genuinely enjoy working with. I think I would enjoy the flexibility to WFH a day or two every other week, but I am looking forward to getting back in the office. I also think a lot of people are sick of working from home, at least my colleagues are. It just gets old and monotonous IMO. I've enjoyed the change of pace for a bit but I find I'm more productive and focused in the office, + I enjoy seeing people.

I think WFH will have to be an option though, probably at least through 2020. I can't imagine employers forcing employees to show up in the office if they are "uncomfortable".. I think flexible WFH set ups will have to be offered for the foreseeable future

I think it comes down to where you are at in life. Also WFH is much easier/tenable in non-NYC cities. Aka where you can have a home office and not your coffee table next to a bed in a $4k studio.

I would argue that showing up to work is also pretty monotonous... in a perfect world it could be more like hoteling, that consultants and accountants do. There are workstations and you can use them when you are in whatever office.

May 18, 2020
DistressedInvestor:
tbateman:

I personally dislike WFH, I miss being in an office and talking to my coworkers who I genuinely enjoy working with. I think I would enjoy the flexibility to WFH a day or two every other week, but I am looking forward to getting back in the office. I also think a lot of people are sick of working from home, at least my colleagues are. It just gets old and monotonous IMO. I've enjoyed the change of pace for a bit but I find I'm more productive and focused in the office, + I enjoy seeing people.

I think WFH will have to be an option though, probably at least through 2020. I can't imagine employers forcing employees to show up in the office if they are "uncomfortable".. I think flexible WFH set ups will have to be offered for the foreseeable future

I would argue that showing up to work is also pretty monotonous... in a perfect world it could be more like hoteling, that consultants and accountants do. There are workstations and you can use them when you are in whatever office.

A lot of people were resistant when we rolled this out, but it really is a good system. The ROI argument for it is there too - less people in the office means a smaller footprint requirement and if your HQ is in NYC that's $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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May 17, 2020
tbateman:

I personally dislike WFH, I miss being in an office and talking to my coworkers who I genuinely enjoy working with. I think I would enjoy the flexibility to WFH a day or two every other week, but I am looking forward to getting back in the office. I also think a lot of people are sick of working from home, at least my colleagues are. It just gets old and monotonous IMO. I've enjoyed the change of pace for a bit but I find I'm more productive and focused in the office, + I enjoy seeing people.

I think WFH will have to be an option though, probably at least through 2020. I can't imagine employers forcing employees to show up in the office if they are "uncomfortable".. I think flexible WFH set ups will have to be offered for the foreseeable future

I personally am also looking forward to getting back to the office, but there are jobs I've had where I'd prefer telework because of personal dislike for the office/co-workers. But I love my current co-workers and hate the fact that I can't even get a stinkin' beer with them.

May 12, 2020

I love WFH. if FINRA allows it, I'll only go into the office if I have a scheduled appointment. since I'm in sales, most of my team's work is done solo (everyone on separate phones talking to different clients/prospects).

the big if is will FINRA allow it, and this affects everyone with a series 7, your firm has a policy on alternate work locations as does FINRA. they do this because it'd be a supervisory nightmare in the past to allow everyone to work from home, in their minds. the fear was that policy violations on safeguarding customer records would be rampant, people would hold their homes out as places of business, and security would be an issue.

I don't know about you, but I have a virtual desktop that's completely separate from the rest of my laptop (security issue solved), I don't have my home address anywhere (place of business issue solved), and I don't maintain records here because who tf uses paper anymore?

I think FINRA could come around, but much more slowly than I would like. I imagine some sort of hybrid approach

May 12, 2020

Let's be honest, we're not doing shit working from home. Might be true for many back office functions but for front and middle office, I can't see it really taking off, personally.

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May 12, 2020
larry david:

Let's be honest, we're not doing shit working from home. Might be true for many back office functions but for front and middle office, I can't see it really taking off, personally.

Im a VP at a fund and am productive. My entire fund is still working as are my friends at other friends. If you arent actually doing work then I question how you still have a job if you have been fucking off for the past 6-8 weeks. Work needs to be done. I know people that have done IC memos and gone to IC entirely remote.

The question comes down to the engrained view on facetime

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May 12, 2020

I hope so. I work in sales at a software company so I don't need to be in the office anyway. I've been doing this for a few years and I still prefer to speak on the phone in private, not in my cubicle so 10 other people can hear my conversations.

May 16, 2020

My CEO said they won't be forcing everyone to come to work until testing and a vaccine are easily availbale around the globe. Can they really force me to come back to work if I feel uncomfy?

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
May 16, 2020

As a 1st year analyst and still learning I'm not sure I'll be given the option to WFH or even be able to negotiate it. If I could though, I would love to WFH Mondays and Fridays, or full-time and show up to the office a few times a month. Also doesn't help that I live within 5 min from my office so it's not like commuting is an issue (can't negotiate that).

May 16, 2020

We are working remotely for the rest of the year. The company can't guarantee anyone's safety and any significant infection rate would hobble many groups since they're staffed so lean.

Even if you aren't worried about the virus personally, more than a few folks live with people in high risk categories and they will not risk killing people they love because some fuckwit needs to be able to smell your cologne to feel productive.

In the long run, companies are going to be on the other side of the issue and you're going to need to justify why you'd need to be in the office.

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  • Intern in S&T - Other
May 17, 2020

Will immigration of white-collar workers significantly decrease if this trend takes off (and domestic hiring becomes much more flexible)?

May 17, 2020

My bank is saying we should most likely come back into work along with the interns. They want us back in ASAP but legally cannot so have to wait.

As soon as we hear news of someone dying and suing a company for getting COVID, no ocmpany will ask employees to come in unelss they sign a waiver

Thoughts?

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.

May 17, 2020

^This. No company wants to be the first to do this and look like the black sheep once everything blows apart. Same reason why no university is the first to publicly say in person classes will 100% happen. Some have stated they intend to, but no guarantees yet. They all want someone else to do it before they do it.

May 17, 2020

So Mr. Teddy, when do you think banks will start forcing people to come to work? 2021 maybe or definitely earlier?

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.

May 18, 2020
Comment
  • Incoming Analyst in Other
Jun 11, 2020