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Thursday, May 23, 2024

'We need to get Monday back' and get people in the office earlier in the week, says the CEO of the world's largest insurance marketplace

'We need to get Monday back' and get people in the office earlier in the week, says the CEO of the world's largest insurance marketplace

John Neal was talking to the FT about getting brokers and underwriters back on Lloyd's trading floor earlier in the week.
Corporate leaders who are desperately trying to get their employees back to the office are finding that it's still hard to get people to show up on Mondays.

"Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are busy," John Neal, CEO of the world's largest insurance marketplace Lloyd's of London, told the Financial Times in an interview published Wednesday.

"We need to get Monday back," Neal told the media outlet, summing up a challenge in getting employees back to the office at the start of the week.

He was talking about getting brokers and underwriters back on Lloyd's trading floor — where deals for specialist insurance policies — such as marine insurance and body parts insurance — are struck.

It's not the first time Neal is calling for a return to the office after employees were in a prolonged remote working situation during the pandemic.

"I think it's massively important for younger workers to experience in-person trading," Neal had told The Telegraph in September 2021. "We have the best talent in the world in London in the insurance industry, but we need to be with that talent to help develop them so the next generation can be better than my generation. We have a responsibility to the next generation," he added, per the UK-based newspaper.

A Lloyd's spokesperson told Insider it needs both a "thriving physical space" and a fully integrated digital offering for the marketplace of the future it's building.

Corporate leaders across the board are now pushing back against remote work, with some echoing Neal's sentiment that the arrangement isn't ideal for the development of young workers, because they hurt their opportunities for learning, socializing, and networking.

David Solomon, Goldman Sachs CEO, who once called remote work "an aberration," told CNBC in October 2022 it was especially important for younger employees to show up in the office. "We have an organization where 50% of the people are in their 20s. They come to Goldman Sachs to learn, to meet people, to interact," he told the broadcaster.

"It doesn't work for young kids, it doesn't work for spontaneity, it doesn't really work for management," JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told CNBC's Squawk Box on January 19.

Other high-profile executives who want their employees back in the office include Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

While Lloyd's Neal may have been referring to employees in the UK, the experience across the Atlantic is similar.

Office occupancy across 10 metro cities in the US peaked at an average of 58% on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and was just over 50% on Thursdays in February — far leading the occupancy rates of 46% and about 30% for Mondays and Fridays, Kastle Systems, an office security firm, said in a March 6 report.
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