Deutsche Bank considers permanent shift to let staff work two days a week from home

Move will not apply to all staff and questions remain over maintaining confidentiality in private residences

Workers stand on a hydraulic platform as they carry out maintenance on a new Deutsche Bank AG office building in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Demand for offices in Frankfurt and prime rents have climbed to a record as the city emerges as one of the favorites to attract financial firms from London in the run-up to the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, according to lobby group Frankfurt Main Finance. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
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Deutsche Bank is weighing up a new policy that would allow most employees to permanently work from home for 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-day 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, according to a source. 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.

Chief executive 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 ($2bn) 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.

“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,” Christine Peters, a spokeswoman for the bank, said by email. “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 many people working 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.