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They've forgotten what it's like for most people, says this banking veteran.

"Bank CEOs have lost touch with employees' working lives"

It's becoming a thing for some of the most powerful men in finance to call employees back to the office. 

In demanding that employees return to office buildings, CEOs are demonstrating the extent to which they're out of touch with employees' working lives. 

CEOs are good business managers, but over time they forget what it's like when you're not at the top of the tree. - When your family and children need you at home because you can't afford the help. 

When you're the CEO of a global bank, you get a car and driver. You don't take the subway. You don't commute in from outside the city. And when you've been CEO for years, you forget that this is the reality for most people. 

When you're CEO, you also get a private office that's bigger than most of the apartments occupied by employees in New York City. Social distancing isn't an issue.

You'll also get a staff of servants, sorry, "assistants," who cater to your every need. If you want, you don't have to leave your private suite for anything during your work day, including eating or going to the men's room. And you are protected by multiple layers of security. 

Senior finance professionals who forget that life isn't like this for other employees risk looking heartless in the COVID pandemic. People have real human concerns and it's not a good look to shout "bah humbug" whenever they're raised. We're all mortal. Leaders should reflect that more than anyone. 

Scott Brown is the pseudonym of someone with three decades' experience on Wall Street

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Photo by Clay LeConey on Unsplash

AUTHORScott Brown Insider Comment
  • An
    10 May 2021

    And powerful women.

  • Ti
    Tim Lawson
    8 May 2021

    Important as a CEO might think he or she is, they should themselves remember that everyone works for somebody from bottom to top and that they to have to answer to the shareholders, if the shareholders are so blinkered that they can't appreciate the efforts of all of the company's or corporations staff then change will happen, during the last fourteen months the effects on whole populations around the globe due to the Covid pandemic has been incalculable, the cost to mankink, families, large and small businesses, the travel industry has been immense, the death toll tragic. At this time in our development we should look to other ways to work and accept that perhaps we are all and have by default become part of a new business / industrial revolution where the quality of life as appreciated by employees is offset by more flexibility at home e.g child care etc that comprises of companies around the world now excepting that if they can't embrace new technologies, new practices then their shareholders will not have a company of value which in turn will mean the CEO of said listed company along with countless employees. Just one man's thoughts viewed from London U. K. Tim Beckley Lawson.

  • Nm
    8 May 2021

    I think banking employees forget what it's like for normal people who don't have a choice or returning to work. The author seems to be ok with a underclass of slaves who have no choice but to toil in *shudder* the presence of other people and mimics his bank CEO more than he thinks.

  • SK
    8 May 2021

    Thanks for the article. Very true and straightforward. Smarter companies will take advantage of the arcane outdated companies and poach their top talent. I am already seeing this happen. Personally I have not decided as to whether I should go for a fintech that offers flexibility in work place. I don't mind going to office a couple of days a week.

  • MR
    8 May 2021

    The banking industry has lost touch and they dont care because they wave big salaries to recruit juniors who don't know better We the people in the industry need to step up and push back against all this BS of having to work long hours and stay in the office The FinTech companies are eating the bank's lunch day in and day out with flexible work arrangements and locations such as home work. Just as i gave the two finger salute to JD on his lets get back to the office as I hate zoom, and Lazard the same salute, I extend these salutes to the CEOs who want us back to the office. Maybe its time to do things differently and allow those who want to work from anywhere they want. Maybe these high paid CEO;s can get off their high horse and the boards of these companies can get off there chairs and tell the CEO's knock it off. Stop trying to justify the old way of doing things ---just because---- Maybe these companies can stop buying office spaces to justify their presence in the world and requiring butts in seats to look busy and justify the rent or owning this spaces. Let the people decide without retribution,demotion or backlash. If we have another outbreak thats more virulent in the future,and people get sick, spread it and people die because these companies have to do things the old way, who wins?? Its time to discard the old way, the office buildings, the arcane hours and let people get the work done when and where they want. Enjoy life, take 16 weeks vacation a year, with some of it paid and others parts at will, without any peep from corp. Guess what, we all will be more happy, live longer and save tons of cash or both not having to commute to work and the corporate not having expensive real estate and having D-Bag leaders telling us to get back to the office. To the CEO's we salute you with two hands and one finger on each hand pointing up to the sky!

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