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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon outlines 'serious weaknesses' of virtual work

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Julia La Roche
·Correspondent
·3 min read
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While JPMorgan Chase (JPM), the largest U.S. bank by assets, quickly transitioned its operations to function virtually, CEO Jamie Dimon spotted some "serious weaknesses" in virtual work.

"Performing jobs remotely is more successful when people know one another and already have a large body of existing work to do. It does not work as well when people don't know one another," Dimon wrote in his annual letter to JPMorgan shareholders.

The 65-year-old CEO added that most people learn how to do a job "through an apprenticeship model," which can't be replicated over a Zoom (ZM) call.

"Over time, this drawback could dramatically undermine the character and culture you want to promote in your company," Dimon added.

According to Dimon, "a heavy reliance on Zoom meetings actually slows down decision-making because there is little immediate follow-up."

What's more, remote work "virtually eliminates spontaneous learning and creativity because you don't run into people at the coffee machine, talk with clients in unplanned scenarios, or travel to meet with customers and employees for feedback on your products and services."

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR FOR JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. - Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., visits Chase's first retail branch in downtown Boston, expected to open in January of 2019, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Gretchen Ertl/AP Images for JPMorgan Chase & Co.)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR FOR JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. - Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., visits Chase's first retail branch in downtown Boston, expected to open in January of 2019, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Gretchen Ertl/AP Images for JPMorgan Chase & Co.)

Future of work

While the COVID-19 pandemic will make work-from-home a more permanent fixture in corporate America, "it needs to work for both the company and its clients," according to Dimon.

As companies debate in-office versus remote work, Dimon said, "generally speaking, we envision a model that will find many employees working in a location full time."

"That would include nearly all of the employees in our retail bank branches, as well as jobs in check processing, vaults, lockbox, sales and trading, critical operations functions and facilities, amenities, security, medical staff and many others," the CEO added.

Dimon said some employees would work under a hybrid model, with some days per week at a JPMorgan location and other days spent at home. According to Dimon, "a small percentage, maybe 10%," will work full-time from home.

To be sure, remote work "will change" how JPMorgan manages its real estate, Dimon added.

At JPMorgan's offices, they will transition to an "open seating" arrangement "in which digital tools will help manage seating arrangements, as well as needed amenities, such as conference room space."

"As a result, for every 100 employees, we may need seats for only 60 on average. This will significantly reduce our need for real estate," Dimon added.

In the letter, Dimon said that JPMorgan plans to build its new headquarters in New York City, which will house between 12,000 and 14,000 employees.

"We are extremely excited about the building's public spaces, state-of-the-art technology, and health and wellness amenities, among many other features. It's in the best location in one of the world's greatest cities," Dimon wrote. 

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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