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WFH could ‘Uberise’ some bank jobs


MUMBAI: With banks adopting the work-from-home (WFH) model, there is a possibility that some jobs could go the Uber way with employees deciding which hours of the day they will plug in. This is applicable for tasks that are homogeneous, like that of call centre employees where technological developments are making it easier to monitor even remotely.

Axis Bank had been preparing for a WFH model even before the pandemic struck, which made it possible to keep 700 of its call centre executives active even after the lockdown was announced. SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar recently told TOI in an interview that the bank was planning to move to a work-from-anywhere model rather than just work-from-home. In the early weeks of the lockdown, HDFC Bank MD and CEO Aditya Puri had said that the bank was going to shift permanently to a WFH model for a third of its employees.

According to Axis Bank head (process transformation & customer experience) Ratan Kesh, the private lender was able to immediately activate call centre services from remote locations as it had put in place applications that could push the caller data to the executive’s device and simultaneously route the call to the executive’s personal mobile device.

This resulted in successful business continuity and the bank has been able to get back to 90% of pre-Covid-19 volumes. “We were also able to operate the call centres for FASTag (electronic wallet for toll payments), while many others were still struggling,” said Kesh.

Employees were able to connect as the bank adopted a bring-your-own-device strategy, allowing staff to connect through VPN. The managers were also able to do their job remotely as a dashboard gave them an update of employee performance. Additionally, a newly installed artificial application converted conversations into text and analysed them to see whether managerial intervention was required.

According to Kesh, WFH is likely to be part of the new normal even as the space cleared is used for maintaining social distancing in office. One of the key advantages in the WFH model is that rostering of staff could be done on an hourly basis instead of a daily basis.

“Based on the experience, we can forecast the busy hours in a day. In a WFH model, some staff can choose to take a break during the non-peak hours and resume later. This is not possible in the call centre,” said Kesh. The other advantage is that of being able to work from any location, which can help save rent for some.


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