- The coronavirus crisis is spurring TD Bank to shift most of its 9,500 call center employees to work from home.
- The bank is moving about 350 Canadian and 150 U.S. workers a day into remote capability and should complete the transition by the end of this month. The work-from-home option won't apply to call center employees with less than three months' experience.
- Over the past month, many large banks have let most employees work from home, with the exception of front-line employees such as tellers and call center workers, who often must operate out of branches or other company locations.
Lenders and payment companies such as Capital One, American Express and Synchrony are letting call center workers do their jobs from home, Bloomberg reported. TD's fellow Canadian banks are similarly allowing a significant percentage of their call center employees work from home: 85% for Royal Bank of Canada, and more than half for Bank of Montreal, according to the wire service. The latter bank has also moved some call center employees to closed branch locations to help with social distancing.
TD Bank was one of a number of lenders that, in late March, began offering a two-installment, $1,000 bonus — paid in April and May — to employees deemed essential and unable to work from home. Citi and JPMorgan Chase are offering bonuses of a similar size and structure.
At that time, TD also pledged to give eligible employees two extra vacation or personal days. As part of the effort to move call center workers home, the bank is offering an extra 10 personal days to help with day care issues and the ability to change schedules and do split shifts, according to Bloomberg.
Senior Vice President Greg Smith, who oversees TD’s centers in North America, said the bank couldn’t have imagined a month ago shifting its call center workers to do their jobs remotely.
"We can't control everything that you can control in the office, so we had to become comfortable with the way we mitigate our risk," Smith told Bloomberg.
He credited the whole business for pulling together to sort out the logistics of the undertaking, adding that the work-from-home opportunity could well outlast the coronavirus pandemic.
"There's no telling what this is going to look like when we're all done and how people are going to feel, but I would like to continue to allow agents to work from home even after the crisis," Smith told Bloomberg. "And that would be solely for flexibility."