Barclays, SocGen UK staff revert to home working as government advice shifts

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: A Barclays bank building is seen at Canary Wharf in London

By Lawrence White and Sinead Cruise

LONDON (Reuters) - Up to 1,000 Barclays <BARC.L> staff who had returned to office-based working in recent weeks will revert to working from home following British government guidance on Tuesday, a spokesman for the bank told Reuters.

French lender Societe Generale <SOGN.PA> said it is also "adapting its position in line with UK government guidance", without stating the number of workers recently returned to work in its London offices who will now stay home.

Two other big British lenders told Reuters they will also likely reverse recent return-to-work moves for non-essential staff.

Lloyd's of London also asked its employees in the UK on Tuesday to work from home following guidance from the government. "Lloyd's Underwriting Room is certified as a COVID-secure environment and will remain open for market participants," the company's spokesperson said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs <GS.N> said in an internal memo on Tuesday its UK headquarters will remain open to staff who need to remain in the office.

"You are reminded that the wearing of masks is required at all times in the office, except at your desk," chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International Richard Gnodde wrote in the memo.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people to work from home where possible and ordered bars and restaurants to close early to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of COVID-19.

The latest advice comes just weeks after Johnson urged people to return to their workplaces to try to limit the economic damage to nearly-abandoned city centres.

Around 22,000 Barclays staff have remained working in its offices worldwide throughout the pandemic, as designated key workers needed to keep the financial system ticking over.

Of the roughly 1,000 more who had begun to return to work worldwide, hundreds based in Britain will resume working from home, the spokesman said, with others potentially following suit if local advice changes in other countries.

Banks, including Barclays, had begun to return more staff to office-based working, mainly in Britain where the government had earlier encouraged people to resume their daily commutes.

More lenders are also expected to tell all but essential staff to work from home, a source at another big British bank said on Tuesday, asking not to be named.

Some banks, including NatWest Group <NWG.L>, have told staff they can work from home until next year.

(Reporting By Lawrence White and Sinead Cruise, Additional reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; editing by Lisa Shumaker, Mark Heinrich and Tom Brown)

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