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Deutsche Bank weighs move to two-days-a-week remote working

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Deutsche Bank is weighing a new policy that would allow most employees to permanently work from home two days a week as the lender draws lessons from the coronavirus pandemic.

[FRANKFURT] Deutsche Bank is weighing a new policy that would allow most employees to permanently work from home two days a week as the lender draws lessons from the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany's largest bank has been discussing the changes for several months and the two-days rule has emerged as the preferred scenario, people familiar with the matter said. Some regulatory questions still need to be answered and any policy won't be applied uniformly to all staff, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

Deutsche Bank is still waiting for lawmakers in several countries to finalise new remote-work legislation, one person said. It's also not clear yet how to deal with issues including enforcing confidentiality in a private setting, and such regulatory concerns will likely result in diverging policies for some staff and some countries, the people said.

Chief executive officer Christian Sewing previously said Deutsche Bank will increase the amount of work employees can do from home, as the lender seeks to offer more flexibility and cut down on real estate costs. The new work model is expected to make a significant contribution to an ambitious savings target he unveiled last year.

The lender spent 1.7 billion euros (S$2.72 billion) on rent and furniture in 2019, an amount it had expected to remain stable before the pandemic hit. After the experience of the first half, the bank now sees room to lower those costs.

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"As publicly known, we are exploring what positive lessons Deutsche Bank can learn from the Covid-19 crisis about how we work as a bank in the future," said Christine Peters, a spokesperson for the bank. "We are working on a hybrid model that will combine working from home as well as in the office. No decision has been made yet."

Deutsche Bank has already begun cutting office space as it plans for fewer staff on site. The lender is just one of many across Europe that have been reassessing how much work from home they will still have once lockdowns because of the pandemic are over, with some Dutch banks anticipating a rate of as much as 50 per cent.

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