Covid-19 second wave spanner in banks’ return to headquarters plans.  |  Photo Credit: BCCL
New Delhi: The rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in India, particularly in Maharashtra—at the forefront of the country’s second wave of coronavirus infections—has reportedly pushed bank corporate offices to shift to a work-from-home (WFH) model with a minimum staff coming to the office due to the ongoing second-wave in Mumbai where most of India’s top commercial banks are based.
Considering the surge in the number of new Covid-19 cases, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said he would decide on a complete lockdown in the next two days, highlighting that possible shortage of healthcare infrastructure soon if the rise in coronavirus cases continues at an alarming pace.
State-controlled banks, private-sector lenders and even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are getting back to last year’s system of WFH for specific functions in an earnest attempt to allow staff the flexibility to work from remote locations.
State Bank of India’s (SBI’s)—the country’s largest lender by assets—corporate executives are working from home, while private-sector lenders such as Axis Bank and HDFC Bank are minimising office visits. Also, state-owned banks are placing restrictions on permitting visitors into the corporate office. Although 80 per cent of the employee of a bank are in front offices which have been working all year, key executives in the controlling offices have been working from remote locations, according to a report in ToI.
Several lenders were expecting to ring in a new normal from April 1, but have now deferred plans. “We were hoping that bank staff, who are categorised as essential service workers, would be made eligible for early vaccination. Since that has not happened, we are encouraging eligible staff to get vaccinated and reimbursing the same,” a senior official with a private sector bank told the publication.