Telecommuting | National Bank goes into flexibility mode

The National Bank announced to its employees on Wednesday that it intends to speed up the return to office. Instead of imposing a number of days for employees in hybrid mode, it takes a percentage of the time spent in the office.

Posted at 6:00 am

Richard Dufour

Richard Dufour
The press

“We anticipate that most of our teams will spend an average of 40% of their time in the office,” said Brigitte Hébert, senior executive vice-president, employee experience, at National Bank.

The largest banking institution in Quebec therefore does not impose a specific number of days per week, per month or per quarter. “We empower teams to take their operational reality into account,” explains Brigitte Hébert.

For example, if an employee needs to spend more time in the office at the end of the quarter, or an employee has customer appointments at a certain time of the year, they can focus their presence accordingly.

The best from both worlds?

“We are now beginning to ramp up volume to reach cruising speed for the new fiscal year commencing January 1stah November”, says Brigitte Hébert.

She adds that with this, the bank wants to raise the level of the discussions to bring them more towards other elements.

We want to give meaning to what we want to achieve together as an organization instead of setting it[accent] over a strict number of days.

Brigitte Hebert, Executive Vice President, Employee Experience

At the moment, the return to personal contact is a topic that divides the troops rather than unites them, she emphasizes. “We want to engage our employees and build lasting relationships with our customers, employees and members of the community. We want a team culture and a stimulating work environment. »

Hence the message that the bank is realizing that this is more difficult to achieve in a predominantly remote environment and context.

Brigitte Hébert claims the bank is trying to get the best of both worlds. “We also want flexible conditions. We believe it’s a retention lever,” she says.

“It’s an important moment that challenges us to see how we organize the work. We need to create new working habits. We have good ingredients, but we have to make the recipe together. We test. We adapt. We learn. We’re moving on,” she added.

All organizations are looking for the magic recipe. But nobody found her. We must remain open and humble.

Brigitte Hebert, Executive Vice President, Employee Experience

At the National Bank, almost 4,000 of the 12,500 employees work in hybrid mode in the office at least two days a week, says Brigitte Hébert. “We have returned to the threshold of the beginning of summer. »

Between 5,000 and 6,000 employees have to travel to work every day. Think in particular of the employees in the branches.

New offices

The return to face-to-face is announced as headquarters staff prepare to work in new offices.

The construction of the new headquarters on the corner of Rue Saint-Jacques and Boulevard Robert-Bourassa is well advanced. Employees can start working there next year. The move is planned gradually in the second half of 2023. The 40-storey tower will have 7,000 workstations and can accommodate up to 12,500 employees in hybrid operation.

The construction of this skyscraper was announced in 2018 with an estimated cost of more than half a billion dollars.

This initiative was created with the goal of modernizing employee work environments to be more collaborative and technological in order to retain and hire employees who provide the bank with a comparative advantage.

In April, CEO Laurent Ferreira said The press that the employer has to adapt in the current context of labor shortages, but that the head offices have the responsibility to bring the cities to life (restaurants, small cafes, etc.).

He also said he encourages employees to come into the office and that coordination and innovation are “things that aren’t planned zoom “.

At the competition

According to the Desjardins Group, there are no uniform rules for the start of the school year. “It depends on each team. Managers set the number of days in the office based on employee needs. » With 57,000 employees, there are no rules One size fits allWe were told.

A hybrid working model has been introduced at Laurentian Bank, favoring teleworking for tasks that can be performed remotely. Management offers employees the choice of what suits them best in order to be as productive as possible without having to be physically present in the office. “It’s a strategy that promotes retention and productivity, and also gives us a competitive advantage in the job market,” says management.

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