MUMBAI: Bank corporate offices are getting back to a work-from-home mode (WFH) with a skeletal staff attending office, given the resurgence of Covid in Mumbai where most of them are headquartered.
Public sector banks, private sector banks and even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are moving back to last year’s system of working when Covid cases were first on the rise. Bankers said that there was a feeling of deja vu because of the increasing coronavirus numbers.
The return to WFH comes at a time when banks were seeing more employees attend office following the roster system from February this year. The return to work had resulted in larger crowds in business districts. However, recently banks recorded multiple cases among staff members, forcing a return to WFH.
In the public sector, more executives of from the corporate office are working from home, while private sector banks like Axis and HDFC Bank are cutting down office visits. Public sector banks are also placing curbs on allowing visitors into the corporate office. Although 80% of the staff of a bank are in branches which have been working all year, key executives in the controlling offices have been working from home.
Some banks were hoping to ring in a new normal from April 1, but have now postponed plans. “We were hoping that bank staff, who are categorised as essential service workers, would be made eligible for early vaccination. Since that has not happened, we are encouraging eligible staff to get vaccinated and reimbursing the same,” said a senior official with a private sector bank.
Most banks are compensating staff for the cost of the vaccination. While banks are allowing staff to work from home, some are requiring the employees to be in Mumbai and login from within the city.
In the insurance sector, Aegon Life (in which the Times Group has an equity stake) has formalised a ‘Work from Anywhere (WFA)’ policy effective April 1. With the introduction of this practice, all Aegon Life employees will have the flexibility and convenience to work from anywhere in India and contribute to organisational growth.
“We are not only the first life insurance company but are among the first organisations in the country to formally adopt a fully WFA work policy. Needless to say, we will still have our office space to enable employees to meet, brainstorm, connect and collaborate,” said Aegon Life chief people officer Sunita Rath. She added that with WFA as the new normal, the company will adopt other suitable digital tools and solutions to engender a culture of agile policies and proactive support.