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Incumbent banks ramp up in-office requirements

Banks are starting to monitor employee office attendance, with Citi cutting bonuses for staff that fall below three days a week

Zoom/Work from home

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Once upon a pre-Covid time, working from home was dubbed a remote working rarity and requirements to be in the office five days a week were the norm.

Now, as the world continues to slowly shift towards some hybrid (pardon the pun) form of pre- and post-Covid life, some banks are hankering for the days before ‘Zoom’ became a part of our everyday vernacular.

Citi is one such bank, which has taken to monitoring how many days its employees are spending in the office in the UK, and may slash the bonuses of those that are not coming in at least three days a week.

The US bank has around 230,000 employees worldwide, and is now monitoring how often its roughly 12,000 workers in the UK are coming into the office.

News of Citigroup’s consultation with staff over how to monitor and report office attendance was reported by Financial News back in June, with a memo from UK CEO James Bardrick reportedly saying the focus would be on employees with “consistent office absence”.

The monitoring has now come into place, as first reported by the Times, with bonuses on the line for employees that don’t adhere to the three days a week requirement.

“We have firm expectations for office attendance and know that the majority of our employees are compliant with their requirements. As necessary, we hold colleagues accountable for adhering to their in-office days,” a Citi spokesperson told the Times.

Citi is far from the only bank to instate an in-office requirement.

Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have reportedly required their employees to be back in the office full time for a while now.

Lloyds Banking Group is now requiring their staff to be in the office for at least two days a week, monitoring attendance through employees’ swipe cards.

HSBC has also told its staff they must work in the office for at least three days a week starting next month.

Could we see incumbents continue to move in the direction of a more office-based future while fintechs move the other way?

A draw for many fintech applicants is often their flexible work from home, or even work from anywhere, policies.

Monzo has flexible working hour options and a hybrid approach to work, with some offering a fully remote option.

Revolut moved to permanent flexible working after trialling it during the pandemic, and Zopa now allows its employees to work from abroad for up to 120 days.

Citi did not reply to AltFi’s request for comment at the time of publication.