Standard Chartered to offer most employees “flexi-working” option by end of 2021

November 6, 2020.
In this file photo a man walks by Standard Chartered bank in London. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

In this file photo a man walks by Standard Chartered bank in London. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

will soon provide employees in several markets with greater flexibility in working patterns and locations, the U.K.-based bank said Friday, implementing lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic to create a hybrid workforce of remote and office-based employees.

Beginning in early 2021, Standard Chartered said it will allow employees in the U.K., U.S., Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and in global business service centers in Poland, Malaysia, China and India to apply for a formal “flexi-working” arrangement. Employees in these nine markets will have the option to select both time — including number of hours and days — and location flexibility, depending on their job.

Standard Chartered said it expects most employees to fall into a “hybrid pattern,” with some days spent in the office and some days working from home, but others will likely prefer to spend 100% of their time either at home or in a Standard Chartered office.

The bank said its goal is to implement “flexi-working” options across 70% of the bank and 50% of its markets by the end of 2021 and achieve 90% coverage across both by 2023.

Approximately 54% of Standard Chartered’s workforce is employed in one of the nine markets initially being offered the flexible working options. Other markets where Standard Chartered operates are expected to be offered the flexible working arrangements in late 2021 and mid-2022; the bank said exact locations will be confirmed at a later date.

The bank has approximately 84,000 employees working in 60 markets around the world.

Standard Chartered said it is also working with a third party to create additional “near-home” workspaces, though the bank did not immediately respond to questions from Fastinform about what this entails.

Tanuj Kapilashrami, group head of human resources, said Standard Chartered has been thinking about the future of its workplace “for some time,” but that COVID-19 provided a catalyst to actually make changes.

“We are also very conscious that all our markets are at different points as far as the pandemic is concerned and what that means for where they work,” Kapilashrami said. “It’s for that reason we are focused on both listening to our employees and being data-led in what is required to perform each role.”

Standard Chartered said it surveyed employees in the nine markets about their workplace flexibility preferences, with the overall degree of flexibility dependent on business needs and individual choices.

In addition, the bank also reviewed all jobs to assess where and how they can be done, finding that more than 80% are suitable for more flexible work arrangements.

“We are excited about the future as we step into a new era for the bank and the positive impact we can make on our productivity, well-being and carbon footprint,” Kapilashrami said. “We also see this as an opportunity to appeal to a wider and more diverse potential future workforce.”

Standard Chartered is far from alone in changing the way its employees work. Earlier this week, Voya Financial said it may eventually adopt a hybrid model in which most employees work at least part of the time from home. And in September, Deutsche Bank said it was considering a revision to its work-from-home policy that would allow employees to split their work between the office and their homes.

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