How Deutsche Bank is using contact tracing to bring its 90,000 employees safely back to work

  • Deutsche Bank is using a contact-tracing app to address health and pandemic concerns. 
  • Employees will be able to complete health screenings before they arrive at work. 
  • Other companies including PwC, Salesforce, and Google have been unveiling similar technologies. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Deutsche Bank has a new COVID-19 contact tracing app that conducts digital health-screenings and identifies people who may need to quarantine, HR Dive first reported.

Kevin Ambruso, the investment bank’s director of chief security office, told HR Dive that the purpose of the app is to give employees the option to complete their health screenings at home, on their way to work, or prior to their arrival in the office. Ambruso said more than 90% of Deutsche Bank’s staff use this technology on their cell phones.

The 90,000-person bank’s contact-tracing app allows it to track the potential spread of the virus by tracking high-risk or symptom-showing employees’ whereabouts through their key card swipes, he added. 

“It wasn’t about who was on the floor of the individual, but more importantly, where did that individual go throughout his day and who was near that person while he was on that floor,” Ambruso told HR Dive.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, Wall Street employers including JPMorgan and Bank of America have been eager to bring employees back to the office. But the surge in coronavirus cases and deaths prompted many banks to reevaluate their reopening plans, Insider previously reported. They have since implemented strict guidelines and technologies (like contact tracing tools) to safely bring people back. 

As of November 2020, global custodian bank State Street brought 20% of its staff back by investing in a wearable, contact-tracing device called a “pebble.” On-site staffer members would carry it all times to ensure they’re keeping a safe distance from colleagues. A leaked memo obtained by Insider also revealed that Goldman Sachs is rolling out coronavirus tests, social distancing, mask mandates, and contact tracing strategies as part of it’s reopening plans. 

Deutsche Bank’s employees working at the company’s New York office can work remotely until mid 2021, the company announced last September. The German-based investment bank is also moving its Wall Street headquarters to Columbus Circle, Manhattan, New York, Bloomberg reported. 

A Deutsche Bank spokesperson previously told Insider that it might consider a hybrid model in which employees would be able to work remotely two days a week. 

“We are exploring what positive lessons Deutsche Bank can learn from the COVID-19 crisis about how we work as a bank in the future,” the spokesperson said in November. “We are working on a hybrid model that will combine working from home as well as in the office. No decision has been made yet.”

Companies across all industries are investing in contact tracing tools

Since the coronavirus pandemic, cloud companies and professionals-services firms have been unveiling products to help companies navigate through office reopening plans. 

Deutsche Bank isn’t the only company that has invested in this kind of technology. 

Apple and Google, for example, started building a contact tracing apps since April 2020 to help government health agencies. 

Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also developed an automatic contact-tracing app that uses your phone or laptop’s Bluetooth to track when employees come in contact with each other in the office. Each employee would have an app in their work phone that collects only Bluetooth and WiFi-signal data between devices.

Similarly, Salesforce created Work.com, a tool that keeps track of which employees are coming into the office, when people are scheduling their lunch breaks, and when cleaning crews are disinfecting the space.

Deutsche Bank didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment regarding its contact tracing technology. 

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