Banks continue working from home with plans to return to City

Will the City of London EVER go back to the office? Major banks continue working from home with no concrete plans to return despite lockdown easing

  • Boris Johnson announced last Sunday people should return to work if they could
  • The City of London and Canary Wharf is still sparsely populated on Wednesday
  • Finance firms confirmed today most employees continue to work from home 

Major banks and financial institutions will continue working from home for the foreseeable future despite easing of the lockdown. 

Boris Johnson announced last Sunday he was amending the draconian rules he imposed on March 23 in an effort to reboot the UK economy. 

Thousands of people have been returning to work, with retail shops starting to open, manufacturers opening up factories and car firms firing production lines.

But images this week showed the capital’s major financial hubs in the City of London and Canary Wharf virtually empty as City workers stayed at home as per government guidance for people to work at home if they could. 

MailOnline contacted finance firms and banks based in London to see what plans they had to return to the office.

A woman goes down the escalator at the very quiet Canary Wharf Underground Station in London on Monday

The Canary Wharf HSBC bank building next to skyscrapers against blue sky. Many of the large banks and financial institutions still have people working remotely

Credit Suisse who are based in Canary Wharf, said approximately 90 per cent of the 5,500 staff based at their HQ were currently working from home.

The global firm said they have drawn up ‘cautious plans’ for a ‘phased return to offices over time’.

But they said that they ‘envisage that large numbers of employees will continue to work remotely in the short-to-medium term.’

A spokesman added: As part of these preparations, we are working closely with local authorities to plan how we can return to the office with control measures in place that complement business continuity with health and safety.

‘Considerations include enhanced hygiene protocols, workplace set-up, logistics of moving around our buildings and travel.’

Only small groups of people could be seen coming out of London Bridge station this morning during rush hour

Deutsche Bank confirmed that employees will continue working from home, and that they will bring people back to the office ‘in a deliberate and controlled manner’ informed by government guidance.

A spokesman added: ‘Health and safety remain paramount and therefore social distancing measures on bank premises remain of the utmost importance. 

‘Key measures including seating arrangements and building access points are being very carefully planned as we phase people carefully and gradually back into the office over time. Business managers are working through this plan methodically with supervisors and internal partners.

Many of the financial service functions, including trading, can be done remotely, so there is no specific reason for City workers to be back in the office at the moment.

This is unlike manufacturing and retail which depends on either direct contact with a production line or customers. 

People are seen in Canary Wharf, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease

This means that employees at global finance firms can still work remotely and abide by the government’s advice that you shouldn’t use public transport if you can work from home. 

RBS, who are based in, Canary Wharf said: ‘The health and safety of our colleagues, customers and communities is our main priority

The vast majority of our staff continue to work from home – with more than 50,000 colleagues remotely logging on every day. 

‘We continue to monitor the situation and will update our staff when we have further clarity on future working arrangements.’ 

And HSBC who have a headquarters in Canary Wharf, said that colleagues who could work from home are continuing to do so.

They added that planning for workers returning to the office was ongoing and would be informed by government guidance.   

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