Welcome Back To Work, Regardless Of Where You Office
We hope all of you were able to get some very well-deserved downtime during the course of the summer despite all of the obvious limitations due to COVID-19. By now it is hopefully clear to each of you how appreciative we are of all your hard work, dedication and consistency that has distinguished our firm since this year began. We are now entering our final lap of 2020 and we all know our momentum miraculously outweighs this year’s enormous challenges. Put simply, a very solid year is still highly possible for us at Jefferies, but we have to make our last quarter count by being “all in” for our clients.
At the request of some of you, we have been working to accommodate those who might want to return to our offices post Labor Day. Before going further, we want to stress that the key part of that last sentence is: “might want to return.” At this point, for excellent reasons, the vast majority of us wish to remain working from home for the time being. Well over 95% of us have done so highly successfully for the past six months, and while we will swiftly adapt to any change in circumstances, we anticipate that a great number of us will continue to be highly successful working from home for the remainder of 2020. That is about as far as we can see for now, and we will assess reality in 2021 based on the concrete medical facts and specific circumstances. We want to be very clear: if you want to remain working from home, please do so. Your health and safety and the protection of you and your families, as well as our clients, are the most important things to us and we will support you completely. Nobody should be convinced, guilted or in any way pressured to make the choice to come into the office if they do not feel comfortable doing so. If you need some confidential advice how to deal with a specific situation, we suggest you seek guidance from Cary Friedman. Other firms may make different choices and we are not going to judge anyone else. We firmly believe this is the right decision and policy for Jefferies.
Everyone needs to accept the reality that while we are sick of the pandemic, it is not sick of us yet. Despite herculean effort, there still are no foolproof therapies or vaccines available. We are optimistic that they will come, but not yet. There is also a reasonable expectation that there will be an uptick in coronavirus cases going into the fall, possibly compounded by the onset of the conventional flu season. And to be equally clear, even over the summer, our folks have continued to be vulnerable. We have had about one new (painful but manageable) case pop up every week or so, and just yesterday we were forced to impose quarantines on employees who had come in contact with someone who tested positive over the weekend for COVID-19. The pandemic threat remains real and Jefferies will stay on standby alert.
We do understand that there will be certain instances in which, because of essential and unavoidable circumstances, someone might need (or even want) to come into the office. To that end, you will need to get express permission from your manager and from Lindsay Kronengold to come in and, if you are given permission to return, you will need to strictly follow our protocols. Among the protocols is that on each day you need to come in, you will have to attest to the safety precautions imbedded in the protocols. Also, if you plan to be in the office, you must wear a mask at all times (with limited exceptions including folks with individual offices). If you do not attest to and follow the protocols or do not wear a mask, you cannot be in our offices. In addition, with a few grandfathered exceptions, those who might wish to return and who are given permission to come into an office will be limited to being in the office for no more than one to three days in any given week. There are also protocols and safety procedures for meetings, client pitches, and other situations, with the foundation being social distancing and safety precautions to protect you, your families and our clients.
If you have questions about any of this, please call Mike Sharp or Lindsay Kronengold. They will do their best to make this as straightforward and understandable as possible. Additionally, our COVID-19 FAQs, which address many of your questions, remain available on OneJEF.
We are all getting through this together and if we remain vigilant and committed to protecting each other, this will continue to be yet another crisis where team Jefferies not only survived, but banded together to achieve yet another level of greater success as a firm.
Thank you all and let’s get back to work, regardless of where we office.
Rich and Brian