French bank to track employees' office movements

French bank to track employees' office movements

One of France's largest banks has told its London-based workers that it will start tracking their movements in and out of the office, but it says its plans are good.

BNP Paribas bosses said they would begin tracking employee's entry-gate swipes to ensure they were meeting attendance targets, according to an unsigned memo shared by Reuters and the Times of London.

In 2021, the bank instituted its policy as workers slowly returned to a hybrid working model following COVID-19 restrictions. The team allowed staff to work remotely for up to half the week, with one day of on-site presence each week.

The memo to the London branch of the Bank's 4,500-strong U.K. workforce shows that the group is now tracking staff movements to find out whether these goals are being hit.

The bank told its staff that the new initiative 'wasn't a matter of trust,' the outlets reported, but that it would allow it to monitor and support those employees not adherent to the attendance minimums.

reworking particular hours but to facilitate better working relationships and collaboration with colleagues, the Times reported.

A Data Protection impact and Legitimate interest assessment has been carried out to ensure staff monitors didn't breach their contracts, Reuters reported.

Data would be given to senior managers of employees who failed to meet the proposed minimum, who could decide whether or not to take action. The memo notes that employees are not able to opt out of being tracked.

It was not clear whether BNP would apply to its 56,000 employees in France, where BNP carries out the majority of its operations.

The initiative to track employees is the latest in a long-running battle between corporate bosses and their staff. The flexible nature of home work is often a challenge for workers, while those far away from the office do not go back to paying steep commuting expenses.

The other hand, employers fear they are losing key cultural benefits of having staff together. While a hybrid working agreement appears to have been reached, BNP's move is the latest evidence that a compromise hasn't yet been perfected.

A spokeswoman for BNP Paribas did not immediately respond to the request for comment. The bank did confirm to Reuters that the memo was genuine.

It didn't pioneer the latest idea of tracking employees.

In July, Citigroup began tracking all of its 9,000 U.K. staff's office movements to identify those who continue to work remotely. After months of increasing antipathy between the company and its absent employees, the company ordered low performing staff to return to the office.

In a statement released in June, the group said it would hold those not coming into the office three days per week accountable for their absence.