The bank is one of the first large companies in Spain to indefinitely commit to remote working. The bank's employees will be able to take advantage of this measure whenever possible depending on the nature of their job position, and will be able to work remotely up to 40 percent of their time. They will benefit from a high degree of independence to organize themselves even on the same day and can distribute this percentage on a quarterly basis. The bank will allow them to do so from two different addresses within the national territory. The bank will sign new contracts with its employees in Spain to adapt them to the Spanish Law on Remote Working. BBVA is thus taking action ahead of the announcement of the end of the state of health emergency to implement a permanent working model based on flexibility, work-life balance and trust in employees.
The bank has committed to maintaining a hybrid working model (in person and remote) throughout the Group on a permanent basis, and will adapt it to the local regulations and needs of each country. “We firmly believe that providing our staff with flexibility in the way they work significantly raises their job satisfaction and their commitment," said Carlos Casas, Global Head of Talent and Culture at BBVA. “Since September 2021, we have tested this model to learn lessons and make improvements that have led us to the current proposal,” said the executive.
In general, the model establishes a minimum of 60 percent in-person time and a maximum of 40 percent remote time, whenever made possible by the nature of the job position. The measure will apply to more than 12,000 employees in Spain, mainly in corporate headquarters and support services, and is gradually being introduced in other countries where the bank operates.
Each employee in Spain can fulfill their assigned percentage on a quarterly basis, in agreement with their manager and the needs of the team. Employees who opt for the remote working modality must sign a remote work agreement, which is voluntary and reversible for both parties. In addition, it will allow intraday flexibility and the possibility of working from two different addresses in the same country. The bank already provided equipment and cell phones and employees can now request an approved ergonomic chair, screen, keyboard and mouse. As established by the Spanish Law 10/2021 on Remote Working in Spain, the bank will pay compensation for working from home as stipulated in the work from home collective bargaining agreement, given that the modality chosen by BBVA is above the 30% stipulated by said Law.
Learning and ongoing development
“This is a further development in the ways of working that we established in 2019, in accordance with the principles of empowerment and trust toward employees on which our people strategy is based,” added Casas. At that time, BBVA was a front-runner in closing its headquarters at 7 p.m. and introducing work-life balance measures based on real productivity as opposed to office presence. Some of these initiatives, which are now firmly established within the company, were to limit meetings to 45 minutes and provide flexibility in start and end times. “This new step positions us in the same line as innovative companies recognized worldwide that lead the market in attracting and retaining talent. At BBVA we were already pioneers in doing away with status symbols and offices and in implementing agile ways of working,” said the executive.
BBVA was one of the first companies in Spain that allowed employees to work from home at the outset of the pandemic, and has since kept in place for the longest period a voluntary scheme of in-person work at the corporate headquarters. The months of the pandemic allowed large-scale testing of flexibility, with strong results in terms of employee engagement and productivity, as reflected in internal employee surveys, interviews with the global heads of each area and with Talent and Culture managers in all countries. "What our employees value most is flexibility with clear rules, where everyone knows what is expected of them. In addition, we saw an improvement in the level of employee commitment because, fundamentally, it allows them to better reconcile work and family life," Casas stated.
“During these months, we asked our employees a lot of questions. In the various surveys we conducted, they were overwhelmingly in favor of wider flexibility and hybrid models,” the executive added. Specifically, in a recent remote working survey of more than 4,500 employees, 92 percent said they would not like to return to a fully in-person work model. 85 percent of employees stated that the hybrid model allowed them to better manage their working time, while 95 percent said they found it easier to find a suitable work-life balance.
These analyses also revealed a range of key points for successful implementation of the model on which the bank is already working: “We completed a key project to adapt working dynamics and workspaces, as well as technical requirements, which we will continue expanding and improving.”
All of these measures are in line with the bank’s strategic priority to have the best and most committed team. The bank will also continue to improve the development of tools to assist team managers with handling assessment, follow-up and onboarding, strengthening personal relationships, team networking, and nurturing a shared culture and sense of belonging.
In other countries where BBVA is present, this pioneering remote working initiative will be adapted to local regulations and implemented according to the needs of each country.