ING offers permanent work-from-home option

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One of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic is seeing some of the most radical changes in office culture.

In Spain, ING Groep says the three-month lockdown served as a catalyzer for testing out a plan to allow its employees in the country total flexibility on whether they work in the office or from home from Sept. 1.

“This decision has been brewing since last year with pilot tests of different models of e-work in various teams,” the Amsterdam-based bank said in a statement. “After analyzing the results of the tests, ING has chosen a totally flexible option. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the bank has been able to try out the new model more quickly and prove that it works satisfactorily.”

Banks around the world have had to adapt their working culture due to the decision by governments to restrict mobility and ask people to work from home to contain the outbreak. Many are now deliberating how to return to working in offices while minimizing the risk of infection and maintaining social distancing.

The need for flexibility will generate changes in day-to-day operations in order to improve efficiency and avoid the work from home turning into a 24-hour working culture. Meetings will be limited to between 10am and 4pm, can’t last more than 45 minutes and must have a predetermined purpose, ING said. The bank will also restrict the hours in which emails and telephone calls can be made.

ING had already made a big push into digital banking. The lender has just 29 branches in Spain for 4 million customers. The COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the bank’s plans to relocate its headquarters in Madrid. The move will now happen after the summer, a spokeswoman for the bank in Spain said.

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