The Bank of England will only require staff to work in the office one day a week from September, in contrast to many City banks that are asking workers to return to a full-time commute to the Square Mile.
As the prime minister confirmed the lifting of most remaining Covid-19 restrictions from 19 July, a senior official said the central bank would trial a “hybrid” model allowing people working from home to participate in meetings at its Threadneedle Street offices.
The deputy governor and chief operating officer, Joanna Place, said she expected staff to eventually return to the office three to four days a week but that it would take some time before that was achieved.
Several City banks have said they intend to bring staff back full time once ministers drop their insistence that people work from home if they are able to.
The stance taken by banks in Europe has proved to be more flexible than their counterparts in New York, where bank bosses have taken a harder line and insisted that once government guidelines allow, pre-pandemic norms should be re-established.
Earlier this year the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, called remote working an “aberration” that needed to be corrected “as soon as possible”.
Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, James Gorman, told his New York bankers that anyone who felt safe going out to a restaurant should be returning to the office.
Place said the BoE had enlisted a network of 250 “digital ninjas” – staff who have helped colleagues to adapt and benefit from new tools and technologies – to provide additional support to staff in their new working environments.
“The Bank of England, like all employers, is on a journey and we’ll all learn a lot over the next year or so. It’s not just what we can enable by adaptations to technology and buildings, but what is the optimal model for our businesses, given our most important asset is our people, and of course the interactions between them,” she said.