Blackstone just told US investment professionals to report back to the office on June 7, and the private-equity giant has spent $20 million on safety precautions like paying for cabs to work

Jonathan Gray

The Blackstone Group is joining the growing number of Wall Street firms that have made concrete plans to return to the office in the coming months.

The private-equity firm is asking its US investment professionals to be back in the office full-time on June 7, President Jon Gray said in his Monday morning call.

Blackstone previously welcomed employees back to the office on a voluntary basis last summer, putting some employees on edge.

And Blackstone’s reputation as a real-estate investor has prompted speculation in the financial industry as to whether the firm will be more aggressive than its peers in getting workers back into the office.

The June 7 back-to-office date is earlier than a number of its private-equity counterparts, including Vista Equity Partners and Bain Capital, sources tell Insider.

As of last month, one source familiar with Bain Capital’s plans said that it was eyeing a September return-to-work for US employees, although it was actively monitoring the country’s recovery from COVID-19. A person familiar with Vista’s plans said the firm would not return before June 30. 

A second source familiar with Blackstone’s plans said that investment professionals would need to be fully vaccinated before returning to the office. 

Blackstone has spent $20 million on Covid safety and specific precautions, he said, including covering cab fares for employees to commute.

The private-equity giant’s announcement comes as others on Wall Street are grappling with when and how to return to the office.

JPMorgan was the first to announce its reopening plans: the bank said last month it was reopening its offices on May 17 and wanted all employees back in on a rotational basis by July. CEO Jamie Dimon has long been outspoken about the downsides of remote work

And last week, Goldman Sachs announced that all employees will return to the office by June 14. CEO David Solomon has also complained that remote work is an "aberration" and in late March became the first big bank to announce an in-person summer internship program.

Other Wall Street firms, like Bank of America and Citigroup, are planning to stay remote through the summer or are incorporating a new, permanent, hybrid model — some days in the office and some from home — going forward.

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Samantha Stokes and Casey Sullivan May 10, 2021 at 07:27PM

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