Credit Suisse CEO Says We’ll Never Go Back to Office Full Time

Credit Suisse Group AG Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein doesn’t think banks will ever return to working full-time from the office. 

“It’s unrealistic and it is not what employees want,” he said in an interview at the World Economic forum in Davos on Monday. “We are in a soft way trying to encourage people to come back, but it’s counterproductive if you push too hard.”

The comments add to a growing chorus in Europe supporting flexible work policies, as lenders seek to attract and retain talent. It is also in stark contrast to the more hardline tone adopted by some US counterparts, which have generally been less willing to align with the demands of their workforce.

Europe-based firms such as France’s BNP Paribas SA, Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Switzerland’s UBS Group AG have revised their remote working policies.

“We will never go back to the old 80% to 90% of the people in the office,” Gottstein said. Based on the company’s policies, about 60% of employees should be working from the office but the true number is 37% and Gottstein indicated there is not much that can be done to force people back.

 “I think in certain cities like London — where commuting is painful — that is why people prefer to stay from home one or two days, they don’t have to commute,” the 58-year-old said, pointing to a recent trip to the U.K. capital.

“It is funny if you look at the weekly statistics, Mondays and Fridays are pretty low, and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday they are in the office. And I think that’s here to stay,” Gottstein said. –Bloomberg