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August 18, 2021

With 250 employees in Hartford, investment manager Conning won't return to office until January

Photo | Contributed Conning's office in downtown Hartford.

Investment manager Conning Inc. won't require employees to return to its offices, including its headquarters in downtown Hartford, until at least Jan. 3.

The company, which employs about 250 people in the city and 460 worldwide, had tentatively set its return to the office for September or October, CEO and Board Chair Woody Bradford said. But due to the emergence of the COVID-19 delta variant, Conning decided to pause that reentry plan.

The company’s headquarters is at the Gold Building.

"There was a lot of uncertainty about transmission rates [among vaccinated people]… about how kids in schools would be handled," Bradford said.

Conning fully intends to eventually return to the office on a hybrid schedule in which workers will report to the office three days per week, and work from home the other two days, Bradford said. But the company is committed to giving employees at least 30 days notice of new in-office requirements, and Bradford doesn't think they will receive solid enough information to make a decision by October, and would rather not introduce a new mandate in December amid the holiday season.

The company's Hartford headquarters reopened this summer to employees who work out of the space voluntarily, Bradford said.

Conning joins a growing list of Hartford companies that are pushing back their return-to-office dates.

The Hartford and Travelers Cos. both announced they were delaying plans to bring back workers shortly after Labor Day.

Conning's decision also comes as some developers and business owners downtown have urged insurance companies, financial firms and other white collar businesses to return workers back to the office to help the city’s recovery. 

"I'm sympathetic to that, and I think it's a fair criticism," Bradford said. "Unfortunately, we have to prioritize the health and safety of our employees."

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