France’s BNP Paribas has informed its employees in London that it will begin monitoring their office attendance by tracking their entry-gate swipes. The bank introduced its “Smart Working” policy in 2021, allowing staff to work remotely for part of the week while requiring one day of on-site presence. The new initiative aims to ensure that employees are meeting the attendance targets set under this policy. However, BNP Paribas emphasized that the move is not about trust but rather about monitoring and supporting employees who do not adhere to the minimum attendance requirements.
The bank will provide data on employees who fail to meet the attendance minimums to their senior managers, who will then decide whether to take any action. The memo did not specify whether the tracking would apply to employees in France, where the majority of BNP Paribas’ operations are based. This initiative reflects the ongoing struggle between employers and staff regarding the return to the office. While workers often prefer the flexibility of remote working, employers worry about the loss of key cultural benefits. BNP Paribas’ move highlights the continuing challenge of finding a compromise in the hybrid working model.
BNP Paribas has been at the forefront of offering flexibility to its staff, having trialed remote working as early as 2014. However, the idea of tracking employees is not entirely new, as Citigroup began tracking its U.K. staff’s office movements in July to identify those who continued to work remotely. In June, Citigroup stated that employees not coming into the office three days a week would be held accountable for their absence. Overall, these developments indicate that companies are still grappling with finding the optimal balance in the transition to hybrid working. BNP Paribas has confirmed the authenticity of the memo but has not yet provided further comment.