Deutsche Bank Sees Remote Work for Up to Three Days a Week

Deutsche Bank AG is working on plans to allow staff to work from home up to three days a week, as it considers one of the most flexible return-to-office policies among large international banks.

The Frankfurt-based lender is “moving to provide our employees some additional flexibility in hybrid working models,” Chief Financial Officer James von Moltke said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Wednesday. “It’s a range of 40 to 60 percent, we think, of flexibility. And it will really be up to the employee, but in a structured way with the manager so we know when people are expected to come to the office.”

Deutsche Bank Sees Remote Work for Up to Three Days a Week

European lenders including HSBC Holdings Plc and UBS Group AG are paring back office space as they recognize employees’ desire for a greater balance between work and family obligations in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. JPMorgan Chase & Co said Tuesday it expects all staff back to the office on a rotational basis by July, though it has signaled it may consider some flexible arrangements. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Solomon has said work-from-home is an “aberration.”

Deutsche Bank’s plan to return employees to corporate premises is difficult to state definitively, “because it’s so location-specific,” von Moltke said. “We do see that opening coming. And we’d expect in some important locations like London and New York for that to start in the next several months.”

The German lender had previously said it was considering allowing U.K. staff to work from home between one and three days a week, and that simply pushing employees back full-time after the pandemic would be “a wasted opportunity.” The bank’s asset management arm DWS Group said in March that it had agreed with staff representatives to cut office space per employee in Germany by 30%.

Real Estate Costs

Deutsche Bank has repeatedly highlighted it wants to cut costs by reducing office space as the pandemic has shown that increased work-from-home arrangements don’t lower productivity. The lender expects to achieve “further savings” from an accelerated “rationalization of its real estate portfolio,” it said in its quarterly report on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, UBS Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers said in an interview that the majority of the bank’s staff could be back in offices by the second half, but that the model will be a mixed one and that the lender is “continuously decreasing” floor space.

“We’ve all learned from the pandemic that we can work from home and work from the office, and it will always be a combination going forward,” Hamers said.

That sentiment was echoed Tuesday by HSBC Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson who said the bank is expecting to cut its office footprint by 20% and move to a “hybrid working environment.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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