The office floors in Frankfurt's bank towers are still much less occupied than before the corona crisis.

Many banks report that they have concluded company agreements on a higher proportion of home office, that mobile working is now simply part of a modern corporate style.

Nevertheless, the level of attendance rates in many houses is apparently not yet what one is aiming for.

In many banks it is said that they are still in the process of ramping up attendance back to a "new normal".

Christian Siedenbiedel

Editor in Business.

  • Follow I follow

Apparently, this also means that the employees who go to the office are particularly courted.

Many banks are saying that the instrument of the "after-work party" from the New Economy era has been revived, that the company restaurants are encouraged to spoil office-goers with special delicacies - and the bosses of the individual teams are now bringing them more often ice cream or muffins for everyone than before.

The international banks were among the pioneers.

Goldman Sachs, for example, stated early on that they wanted to see employees back in the office, which was essential for the business model.

At the New York location, the bank had specially set up food trucks and organized live music to lure people back into the office.

At other locations, there were meal vouchers that could be redeemed at lunchtimes in restaurants in the area or in the office with a meal delivery service.

And various sweets should also make the office a positive place in many branches.

The first live conference is celebrated

In Frankfurt, some banks report that they ended the first live meetings, in which everyone was physically present again, with drinks.

This is how it is said to have been at Helaba, for example, which organized a “social culinary finale” after its first physical “town hall” meeting at departmental level.

In addition, there was a bag of muesli for all office-goers once in the morning with a note from the Board of Management: "Nice that we meet again in person." At Dekabank there is talk of social gatherings at team level.

Deutsche Bank reports on “smaller, local campaigns”, which include, for example, executives bringing muffins and cakes.

At Morgan Stanley, it is said that the investment bank has “significantly increased” the number of internal events in this context in this country.

And from the real estate financier Aareal Bank, there is now an after-work party every Thursday - with the aim of motivating employees to work in the office again.

From the traditional Bankhaus Metzler it says: Currently, the presence of employees in the office is 40 percent.

The bank wants to allow more home office than in the past - but would like to come to 60 to 70 percent attendance.

The number has been increasing again since June.

In this context, the bank also discussed a "Welcome Back Week" with all kinds of activities, but decided against it.

Instead, the employees were invited to a summer party at a property owned by the Metzler family.

Similarly, DZ Bank reports that it has organized summer festivals at all locations, and 1,600 people have come in Frankfurt – the company restaurants have also expanded their offerings in a targeted manner.

However, it does not seem clear that all banks want their employees back in the office as quickly as possible - also in view of the corona situation.

Commerzbank reports that it has agreed a transitional arrangement with the works council that increases the upper limit for the proportion of home office from one third to half of the working hours.

"In view of the increasing number of infections, we recommend that employees use this leeway as much as possible," said a Commerzbank spokesman.

Since the agreed home office quota of 50 percent corresponds to the actual home office quota of the past few months at Commerzbank, additional incentives are currently not necessary from the bank’s point of view: “As far as the future design of mobile working is concerned, the bank and the works council are in Exchange."

Home office so that the air conditioning can stay off?

It would also be conceivable that, in view of the extremely high energy costs and imminent gas bottlenecks, some banks would be quite happy if their employees worked at home: the air conditioning in the office could then perhaps stay off and it wouldn't have to be heated next winter.

The Henkel company had recently made statements that could be interpreted in this direction.

When asked, many banks said that they are not currently calculating in this way – but who knows what else will come in the future.

"There are currently no considerations to expand mobile working against the background of possible heating cost savings - of course, further developments remain to be seen," said a spokesman for the Frankfurter Sparkasse, for example.

Others expressed similar views.

A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank, on the other hand, said: "We have already defined a catalog of measures that we could implement depending on the scenario." The bank supports the federal government in its efforts to save energy in the short and long term.

"Due to changing requirements - including mobile working - we have already adjusted our real estate portfolio in recent months," said a spokeswoman: "In this context, we have also implemented energy-saving measures, such as converting to LED lighting and AI-controlled building control technology, which further reduce our electricity and gas consumption.”