Companies like NAB and Westpac confirm hot desking is out as they begin returning employees to the office

Hot desking. Image: Getty.
  • Companies such as NAB and Westpac are gradually getting people back in the office.
  • These companies have introduced measures to ensure worker safety like restrictions on hot desking and physical distancing.
  • EY is also requiring people to make bookings for workspaces.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The finance sector has rolled out measures for workers as they gradually return to the office.

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the way many businesses usually operate, whether it’s adding clear screens and social distancing markers like at Aldi supermarkets, or asking employees to work remotely like software giant Atlassian.

In the finance sector, some companies have made changes to their usual working style, especially when it comes to hot desking – a system where employees can sit at any desk instead of having an assigned area.

On LinkedIn, NAB Group Executive, People & Culture, Susan Ferrier said the company initially allowed more than 32,000 employees to work from home. Now its starting to gradually have its workers return to its buildings, beginning with 20% of its workforce.

NAB has brought in new measures to ensure worker safety such as installing thermal cameras to measure a person’s body temperature when they enter a NAB building and having onsite nurse stations. But there won’t be any more hot desking.

“Instead colleagues will be able to book dedicated desks via an app,” Ferrier said in the post.

How companies are adapting

Westpac is not currently allowing hot desking either.

A Westpac spokesperson told Business Insider Australia via email that the health and wellbeing of its workers and customers is its number one priority.

“Westpac will continue with a distributed workforce for the foreseeable future, with a mix of people working from home and working in the office each week,” the spokesperson said.

“We are planning a phased approach to getting our people back in workplaces, with processes in place to ensure that we can maintain our commitment to safe physical distancing.”

Accounting firm EY is also steadily getting workers back into offices.

EY Oceania People Partner, Kate Hillman, told Business Insider Australia via email the company has always had a flexible work culture, including remote work and hot desking in some offices.

“Remote working is continuing to work for most of our people,” she said. “We are working on a gradual, staged approach to providing access to our offices, with limited capacity and only for individuals who have signalled they’re most in need due to an unproductive workspace at home.

“These individuals will be required to book a session, and limited workspaces will be allocated, via an online booking system.”

There will be measures in place to ensure physical distancing at EY, with employees having to follow “heightened hygiene protocols”.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) says it will be cleaning its desks regularly. The company has signs identifying which work workstations can be used so that it complies with physical distancing rules.

“Our people then use the same desk for a whole day and are asked not to change desks throughout the day,” a CBA spokesperson told Business Insider Australia via email. “Desks are then deep cleaned at the end of every day.”

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