Keyed Up

Unfortunately for a dozen or so now-former big bank employees, the future of work is not a clever hack that makes it look like you're working even when you're not.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that the American banking institution Wells Fargo had fired more than a dozen staffers after discovering that they were using some sort of clever automated trick to register keyboard inputs to make it look like they were hard at work on their computers.

Though it's unclear what specific titles the since-fired staffers held, the bank did confirm to Bloomberg that they worked at the company's "wealth- and investment-management unit." Per Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) documents reviewed by Bloomberg, these folks were "discharged after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work."

"Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards," a spokesperson for the bank told Bloomberg, "and does not tolerate unethical behavior."

As much as we hate to agree with a major bank: yeah, pretending to work isn't exactly great (though if this were a long-term bit of performance art as criticism of productivity demands, corporate-overhiring, and the five-day workweek, we could be convinced otherwise.) Though the scandal definitely makes you wonder: what do Wells Fargo employees — at least the ones in its wealth and investment management sector — even do all day?

Bank Nugs

As The Verge notes, devices for jigging your computer's mouse blew up during the pandemic, when scores of previously non-remote employees suddenly found themselves working from home. Though it certainly wasn't the case for every laptop worker out there, many of these newly-remote workers in this sudden, pandemic-driven shift suddenly found themselves with a lot more time on their hands than they previously did while in office. Thus, various mouse-wiggling tools emerged as a means for some of these folks to make sure it looked like they were working full days.

Years on, it seems that this philosophy was until very recently — and perhaps still is! — present at Wells Fargo, in what feels like a clear sign that some corporate bodies are still struggling with workforce size and management in a still-evolving post-pandemic world.

Again, it's unclear what the bank was actually asking of its departed wealth and investment management staffers. But it does look like Wells Fargo is currently hunting for a new wealth and investment employee able to "manage and develop a team focused on core financial processes, including budgeting, forecasting, financial and metric reporting, and operating and strategic reviews." Nothing a little mouse-wiggling can't accomplish, apparently!

More on the future of work: Boss Says He Doesn't Care at All If Employees Do Drugs at Work

Share This Article