French bank tracks employees' office movements

French bank tracks employees' office movements

One of France's biggest 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.

In an unsigned memo shared with workers on Sept. 25 and reported by Reuters and the Times of London, the BNP Paribas bosses said they would begin tracking employees' entry-gate swipes to ensure they were meeting attendance targets.

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

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

The bank said the new initiative was not a matter of trust, but that it would allow it to monitor and support those employees not adherents to the Smart Work attendance minimums.

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

Reuters reported that a training exercise had been carried out to ensure staff management didn't breach their contracts.

The data would be given to senior managers of employees failing to adhere to the proposed minimum, who could decide whether or not to take action. Employees don't have to opt out of being tracked, the memo says.

There was no indication in the memo whether the move would apply to BNP's 56,000 employees in France, where BNP is the sole provider of its operations.

The move to track employees is the latest in a long-standing conflict between corporate bosses and their staff. The flexibility of home-working is often difficult to find, as workers are unable to go back to paying steep commuting expenses.

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

A BNP Paribas representative declined to comment on the report, but said it had received no immediate response to a request for comment. The bank did confirm to Reuters that the memo was authentic.

It didn't pioneer the idea of tracking employees, according to the Times, but it didn't pioneer the idea.

In July, Citigroup began tracking its 9,000 UK staff's office movements to identify those who continue to work remotely. It was followed by months of growing antipathy between the company and its absent employees, during which it ordered low-performing staff to return to the office.

The group said in a statement in June that it would hold workers not coming into the office three days per week accountable for their absence.