Deutsche Bank’s DWS Unit Cuts Office Space on Work-From-Home

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Deutsche Bank AG’s asset-management arm is giving up office space in Frankfurt as a result of increased remote working.

DWS Group will move out of offices currently leased at the ‘Die Welle’ building by the end of the month, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. About 200 work spaces are affected, a person familiar with the matter said.

The pandemic is “forcing us to rethink some of our plans and decisions” on our office locations, DWS Chief Operating Officer Mark Cullen said in the memo.

DWS Chief Executive Officer Asoka Woehrmann and Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing have both highlighted that they want to use a higher share of remote working in the future as a way to cut real-estate costs.

DWS has recently reached an agreement with the works council that allows the asset manager to decrease the office space per employee in Germany by 30% as a higher proportion of staff work from home, people briefed on the decision said. The decision goes hand in hand with a commitment to give German staff the right to work the equivalent of 2 days per week from home, they said.

A spokesman for DWS declined to comment on the decision.

Requiring staff to return to the office for five days a week “feels to me a little bit like a wasted opportunity,” Tiina Lee, Deutsche Bank’s U.K. chief executive officer, said in a Bloomberg TV interview earlier this month. Staff feedback indicates they want to work from home at least one to three days a week and the bank “looking to explore” that idea, she said.

“We continue to review our real estate portfolio in all locations to ensure we are optimizing our office footprint,” DWS said in its annual report published earlier this month. “In 2021, we aim to continue to review our footprint in other countries, including our headquarters in Germany.”

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