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Seismic shift as Nedbank moves to hybrid work-from-home model

Only 60% of office staff will work on its campuses on any given day.
The bank said in April that it was planning to ‘support more dynamic ways of work’ while ‘creating further value and cost-reduction opportunities’. Image: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Nedbank has communicated to staff that it plans to shift to a “hybrid workforce model” with a significant percentage of the bank’s employees not working in the group’s offices daily, a move that has been accelerated by Covid-19.

Because of the pandemic, most corporate staff at the largest professional services firms in the country (financial services, legal and so on) have been working from home for over a year already. Some, especially those at executive or senior level, have rotated into a shift system.

This decision by Nedbank is a significant move and the first among the country’s large corporates. It says its corporate real estate team “reviewed international research that has informed Nedbank’s approach post Covid (new normal), and in line with our new ways of working, is planning on a ‘hybrid workforce’ model”.

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Deb Fuller, group executive of human resources, says that for the group “a ‘hybrid workforce model’ means that we will have a portion of our workforce who will remain working from a Nedbank office- or branch-based site, a portion of our staff who will work remotely and another portion of our staff that will follow a blended approach whereby they move between working at home and the office”.

Fuller says the bank’s property portfolio “is planned to accommodate a 60/40 split of onsite/offsite workers which will see only 60% of all the office staff working at the various Nedbank campus sites on any given day”.

Plans brought forward

Already in April (in its 2020 annual report) the bank said it planned, in the next few years, to “optimise the portfolio by enhancing workstation utilisation to greater than 100% (from the current 94%) by enabling flexible office constructs to support more dynamic ways of work as well as leveraging successful work-from-home experiences as a result of Covid-19, while creating further value and cost-reduction opportunities”.

The current announcement to staff indicates that Nedbank has brought forward many of those plans.

It noted that “Covid-19 has fast-tracked the adoption of working-from home-practices, underpinned by appropriate IT support to make this happen, as well as the way we operate” through its new target operating model (TOM 2.0).

Fuller says the group believes “the role of many of our offices has changed”.

“As such, some of our staff will collaborate rather than work from behind a screen, which can be done from home.

“Nedbank’s new ways of working promotes an office environment of innovation and collaboration that consists of activity-based environments that are digitally enabled. Employees will book office space, meeting rooms or seats according to the functions they need to perform while onsite.”

Real estate ‘consolidation’

The bank says it has reduced the number of campus sites (offices) to 26 (from 31 in 2018). It has a published longer-term target of 19, as it pursues its “strategy of consolidating and standardising corporate real estate”.

Since 2016, it has reduced the amount of corporate real estate (office, not branch) floor space by almost 69 000m2. It cut around 15 000m2 last year, following a near 30 000m2 reduction between 2018 and 2019.

Its published medium-term target is to reduce its corporate real estate floor space by over 100 000m2, with a long-term target of 120 000m2.

With the recent announcement, these targets will likely be revisited as the longer-term target could be easily achievable in the next few years.

The group has a total occupied floor space of 625 340m2 according to its Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) report. It continues to reduce the floor space occupied by its branches, which has seen a cumulative 57 000m2 reduction since 2014, equal to nearly 30% of the space occupied at that time.

Read: Concerns about narrow interpretation for home office deductions

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What will Nedbank do about its training center in the Cradle of Humankind? I hear that this place has descended into a pit of sex, fights between the new management and trashed rooms.

Why should shareholders put up with that value destruction.

Shows the true colors of the management.

Time to leave.

It sounds very much like the boardroom of the average ANC municipality.

Work from home does not work for them.

Try dealing with the estates department. An absolute disaster. If you have a will with Nedbank or Old Mutual you (or your heirs) are in for a terrible surprise.

Example it took 5 months to get a tax certificate from Old Mutual. Just cant get hold of anyone and if they do nothing is done until weeks or months later you manage to get hold of someone.

Don’t be a fool. Go to the trouble of changing it.

Maybe Nedbank general management should revisit their move to 135 Rivonia Road all that time ago. Then they also introduced hot desking – within 18 months they built more office space and acquired space across the road to house all the staff.

TOM 3.0 in a few years : a proportion of the workers no longer work for Nedbank but themselves. So Mary in Deeds Department works from home and does work for Nedbank, other banks and attorneys.

To all Nedbank staff working from home during Covid, make sure your employer pays for your data & tele call usage from home, as SARS is likely not going to give such deduction to you (as you’re an employee, and not an indep contractor or self-employed person)

Yes, otherwise you can claim pro-rata your bond interest (or rent), rates, levies, cleaner based on a floor-area apportionment calculation. But seemingly not data & calls 🙁

Employer needs to foot the bill.

Then from that amount you can deduct the cost of depreciation on your vehicle you’re no longer using, the cost of fuel and insurance reduction on that same vehicle, and a small portion in there for the improvement in quality of life (thanks to less traffic stress and an extra time per day for no travel). Then pay the difference back to your employer and thank them for what is a pretty forward thinking decision.

End of comments.

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