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All of us working today can and should be cursing the New York Stock Exchange and its damnable Rule 7.2 for depriving us of a rightful New Year’s Day (observed) market holiday due to “unusual business conditions” that, when you think of it, aren’t really all that fucking unusual. But at least if you’re working for a bank, chances are you didn’t have to board a pestilent train, bus or subway—or even really get dressed properly—to do it.

Goldman Sachs is encouraging its eligible U.S. staff to work from home until Jan. 18, a company spokesperson said, as it followed a number of its rivals in altering return-to-office plans as the Omicron variant spreads…. Goldman was among the Wall Street banks that had pushed hardest to bring staff back into offices, and had been the last holdout trying to keep most staff working in the offices through the Omicron variant’s surge.

Getting softer with each passing day, we see. Anyway, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup had previously told employees to stay home for an extra week or two because of, well, you know, although Jamie Dimon is adamant that his underlings start keeping him company again (assuming he’s not flitting about the globe, quarantines be damned) by the beginning of next month, right around the time you’ll also need to have your third jab to enter 200 West. And James Gorman knows how well those kinds of plans and edicts always work out.

As the government pushes to keep the economy open despite record cases — but lower hospitalization and death rates — it raises new questions for businesses preparing for a third year of the pandemic. Some are questioning whether previous precautions like lockdowns and social distancing are still best to keep companies running and workers safe, or whether the new variant allows for a more tailored approach…. Employers will also need to rethink their policies if they want to bring infected workers back to the office more quickly. This makes testing the next big issue, with the Biden administration scrambling to increase supply amid shortages.

At companies large and small, new and old, public and private, 2021 was a year that played havoc with expectations. Through it all, C.E.O.s swapped some of their favorite tropes — timelines, confidence, strategic plans — for something new: saying “I don’t know.” Or even: “I changed my mind….”

“It’s been several years of uncertainty,” [CEO Ryan] Petersen said, adding that because of the Omicron variant, Flexport had delayed its return-to-office plans again. “We try to embrace it.”

Goldman Sachs asks U.S. employees to work from home until Jan. 18 [Reuters via CNBC]
Goldman Sachs Follows Wall Street Rivals in Asking Staff to Work From Home [NYT]
Is the U.S. stock market closed on Friday for New Year’s Eve? No. It isn’t even closed on Monday. Here’s why! [MarketWatch]
As Omicron uncertainty mounts, return-to-office plans are being revised again. [NYT]
‘We Threw Out Any Plans We Had’: C.E.O.s Are Forced to Embrace Uncertainty [NYT]
Goldman Sachs plans to require Covid boosters, mandate twice weekly testing [CNN Business]

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