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In response to the massive changes brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, DBS announced yesterday that it will be implementing a series of transformation initiatives to address new ways of working in the next normal.

“As the way we live, bank and work continues to change dramatically, we must address the magnitude of the disruptions before us. We are prepared to radically transform the way we work by introducing a comprehensive range of measures which include implementing a permanent hybrid work model, flexible work arrangements and deploying more agile squads while creating workspaces that will help to supercharge ideation and collaboration," said DBS CEO Piyush Gupta.

"We will also accelerate our employee upskilling agenda at scale and ingrain the use of data-driven operating models across the bank. By implementing these measures, we believe that team DBS will emerge as a confident future-ready workforce,” he added.

Work remotely
All employees will be given the flexibility to work remotely up to 40% of the time.

DBS' research team found that more than 80% of the bank’s 29,000 workforce are able to work seamlessly remotely. Close to 3,000 employees in Singapore indicated that while they are still productive while working remotely, staying engaged and connected with colleagues was challenging. As such, they prefer hybrid work arrangements over a pure ‘remote work’ or ‘work in office’ approach.

New operation models
DBS will accelerate its transition to operating models characterised not by conventional functional departments but by project-specific data-driven squads formed with members from different functions and relevant areas of expertise.

This comes as the bank seeks to deepen its customer journey design thinking and create value beyond the usual confines of banking as it identifies opportunities in adjacencies and industry ecosystems. While agile squads are already commonplace in some parts of the bank, primarily in the technology space, this approach will now be extended at scale to other parts of the bank.

Future proof talents
As skills required in banking are fast evolving and new types of roles are being introduced, employees will be trained in emerging areas such as design thinking, data and analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and agile practices. Over 7,200 employees across the bank will be upskilled or reskilled.

Re-designing work and collaboration spaces
Over 80% of employees across key markets indicated that they prefer to have more open collaboration spaces to facilitate informal discussions and cross-team ideation, which they found difficult to do remotely. Building on its experience in developing ‘JoySpaces’, or activity-based workspaces since 2016, DBS will further reconfigure its workspaces to enable greater collaboration and ideation.

The bank will also be launching a 5,000-square foot ‘Living Lab’ that aims to blend the best of physical and virtual work space configurations in its Singapore headquarters.