Goldman Sachs cuts free coffee as corporate America turns to pandemic benefits as workers head back to office

As Labor Day weekend approached and Goldman Sachs bankers returned to the office Tuesday morning for the mandatory return to a five-day office work week, they found the free coffee cart, which usually sat in the lobby of the 200 West Street Office, is ignored.

The days of the free ‘grab and go’ coffee station, launched last year as an incentive to get people back to the office, are now over. New York Post reports, as the banking giant removes pandemic-era perks.

Sources at Goldman Sachs told the Position that management has a much more powerful tool than coffee to get people back to the office anyway: the threat of firing.

“RIP to another pandemic perk for junior bankers,” said one junior Goldman banker Position. “I’m sure partners don’t have to pay for their coffee — or anything in their fancy dining room.”

Another blow to junior workers

Goldman Sachs is notorious for its aggressive push to bring workers back to the office.

On September 6, Goldman Sachs announced that it would lift all restrictions for COVID-19 and said that anyone is allowed to enter the office without a mask, regardless of vaccination or screening status.

Goldman CEO David Solomon previously called working from home an “aberration” and said Luck, “I just don’t think the way we work in our business is that different than it was five years ago, and I don’t think it’s going to be any different five years from now.”

“The secret sauce for our organization is that we attract thousands of really extraordinary young people who come to Goldman Sachs to learn to work, build a network of other great people and work really hard to serve our clients,” Solomon said.

Goldman hopes to return to the way it was before the pandemic. For the past two years, Goldman had also discontinued annual performance reviews at the end of the year, where the firm would famously cut the bottom 5 percent of its employees — but Goldman executives warned that the practice would return by the end of the year.

However, the aggressive push towards the way things were was met with resentment, especially among junior bankers. According to New York Postsix overworked first-year bankers quit together and left en masse at the end of August, with sources telling the paper that the atmosphere at the financial giant is at a “toxic all-time high right now”.

Removing privileges

Beyond the COVID measures and free coffee, Goldman is also ending free daily car rides to and from the office, which were introduced at the start of the COVID outbreak to help those who still wanted to go to the office.

And it’s also not the only company doing away with perks. Morgan Stanley has removed the free US Open tennis tickets that were once available to top players at the bank.

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told employees in March that it was getting rid of free services like laundry and dry cleaning at the office and planned to delay its free dinner offer from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

But as companies push aggressively to bring employees back to the office, the best perk a company could offer might just be an option for hybrid work.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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