Banque de Luxembourg, pictured, hopes to get 30% of its workforce back in the office by end of June
Photo: Andres Lejona/archives
Covid-19 has forced financial services sector employers to ensure a new level of health and safety in the workplace. A handful of large employers in Luxembourg explain their approaches.
Banque de Luxembourg
Banque de Luxembourg aims to get 30% of its 962-strong workforce back in the office by the end of June and 100% for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, “provided of course that the situation remains under control and that a new wave of contamination does not occur,” the bank explained. Until then, teams are split in two with half remaining in post and the other assigned to another site. Plexiglass screens have been installed in strategic places, along with hand sanitiser dispensers, and signage to ensure social distancing. At the time of the interview, the canteen and indoor fitness areas were closed. Cold catering was offered free of charge to on-site staff. Staff were not permitted to eat together and access to kitchenettes was limited. Wearing of masks is compulsory when moving around inside the building.
Since 15 June, staff at bank ING Luxembourg were given the option to return to the office. Starting 29 June, a two-week rotation will be implemented for all employees enabling 50% of staff to be present on site while the remainder continue to work remotely. “At ING Luxembourg, teleworking is part of the corporate culture and if this crisis has shown us one thing, it is that teleworking works very well here! We're not in a hurry to get back to the office 100%, because teleworking and the tools available to do it work very well,” the bank said. The bank introduced new signage to indicate safe distances, directions of foot traffic, and distributed thousands of branded masks and hand gel to staff. It developed a dedicated intranet page and a helpdesk to answer questions.
Caceis Luxembourg promotes teleworking as the preferred option for the majority of its 1,052 staff until 26 June. From 29 June to 28 August, on-site activity will resume in stages, with teleworking and group-based work in alternation. Vulnerable staff will continue to work remotely until general resumption of on-site activities, for which no date has been announced. Health protocols are in place to remind staff to keep a safe distance, masks are compulsory in common areas and some workstations have been equipped with plexiglass partitions. Kitchenettes remain open, but with access restrictions, the concierge service will reopen on 29 June but, the gym and showers are closed for the moment. In the long-term, management is reflecting on the reorganisation of workspaces.
The front of the offices of Caceis are pictured in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg. Photo: Paperjam/archives
Clearstream put most of its 1,070 Luxembourg staff on teleworking at the start of the lockdown in mid-March. Since 8 June, 30% of staff returned to the office in Luxembourg. Staff whose presence in the office cannot be avoided work split shifts at different sites to mitigate the risk of cross-contamination. The frequency of cleaning has increased along with communication about hygiene measures. Kitchenettes and the canteen are open, with special precautionary measures. Business travel remains prohibited, while on-site visits, events and meetings are cancelled.
Insurance firm Foyer employs 800 staff, of which currently 50% work from its Leudelange offices since 1 June. HR director Benoît Dourte says the date of return of the entire workforce is therefore not known. Until then, employees are seated 1.5 metres apart, rotas for people returning and seating allocations in the open plan office have been drawn up. Where the distance cannot be respected, staff work in meeting rooms or booths.
Each employee receives masks for the week and disinfectant gel dispensers are located at strategic points. The reception is protected with plexiglass screen as is the case at all branches. The gym and concierge are closed, however, the company canteen reopened at the beginning of June with a reduced offer and restricted layout. Before then, all on-site employees received a complementary packed lunch.
“Our coffee corners are accessible for fetching a hot drink or putting something in the fridge, but they are limited to one person at a time, and it is forbidden to linger there (no breaks between colleagues or lunch),” said Dourte. “Although we noted a certain logistical complexity in the application and reinforcement of hygiene measures, and the sometimes complicated need to adapt to a hybrid home/office working mode, I would say that our constant communication plan and systematic prior discussion of all our decisions with our staff delegation greatly helped us to limit problems and difficulties.”