French bank BNP Paribas has informed its London-based employees that it will begin tracking their movements in and out of the office. This move is part of the bank’s “Smart Working” policy, which allows employees to work remotely for up to half the week. The purpose of the tracking is to ensure that employees are meeting the attendance targets set by the bank. However, BNP Paribas emphasizes that the initiative is not about mistrust but rather about monitoring and supporting employees who are not adhering to the minimum attendance requirements. The bank has carried out a Data Protection Impact and Legitimate Interest Assessment to ensure that employee monitoring does not violate their contracts.
The tracking of employees’ movements is the latest development in the ongoing debate between employers and workers over remote and hybrid working arrangements. While employees value the flexibility of working from home, employers are concerned about losing important cultural benefits when staff are not physically present in the office. BNP Paribas’ decision to track employees reflects a continuing struggle to find a compromise that satisfies both parties. This move follows similar actions by Citigroup, another major bank, which began tracking its UK staff’s office attendance to identify employees who continue to work remotely against company expectations.
BNP Paribas has been at the forefront of offering flexibility to its staff, having introduced remote working options as early as 2014. However, the bank is not the first to track employees’ office movements. Citigroup took that step in July, citing the need to identify those employees who were not returning to the office despite company directives. The ongoing debate between employers and employees over remote and hybrid working arrangements continues, with BNP Paribas’ latest move highlighting the challenges of finding a satisfactory compromise. The bank has not commented further on the matter, but it has confirmed the authenticity of the memo outlining the tracking initiative.