Christopher O’Dea, a Morgan Stanley executive based in San Francisco, apparently thinks his younger colleagues should be back in the office. The New York Post reports that on a phone call last week, O’Dea said, “When you’re 21 to 35 years old, you’re crazy for not being in the office all the time.”

At around 45, O’Dea may not count herself among those perverted to insist on working from home. Morgan Stanley does not comment on the article, and it is unclear what O’Dea’s rationale was, but it likely has something to do with visibility and an “apprentice culture”.

About 18 months after starting work from home, it’s clear why some Juniors at Morgan Stanley may disagree. – A new study of 48 investment bankers in Indonesia underscores what has been found globally – that working from home can be far less stressful than going to the office, unless there is a tremendous workload.

The Indonesian study shows that working on its own increases motivation and reduces employee turnover. This isn’t surprising – as has been widely observed, working from home can mean more time exercising and more time sleeping (a former Barclays AVP says she spent more time in bed and was actually able to practice yoga at home ). However, the Indonesian study also found that the benefits of working from home are quickly offset by increased workloads and stress, which tend to encourage employees to leave the company. Banks then have to offer higher rewards to mitigate this.

Rather than pushing people back into the office, the study suggests banks should do their best to make people feel more comfortable at home. This means monitoring the workload to make sure it is not excessive, reassuring them that their job is good, and dropping the assumption that people at home do not need equivalent rewards (the initial lack of a meal allowance seems to have triggered) the complaints at Goldman Sachs.)

Ultimately, young bankers at home need to be more carefully managed by VPs and CEOs – which could explain why O’Dea believes they should be back in the office.

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