As Covid-19-fearing, social-distancing conscious CEOs abandon packed skyscrapers, the humble branch, long expected to go the way of the dodo, could find a second lease of life as a place to house call centre workers and investment bank staffers, according to Barclays CEO Jes Staley.
Barclays currently has around 70,000 of it staff around the world working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Even once the immediate threat has subsided, there will be a "long-term adjustment about how we think about our locations,” Staley said on a conference call after the bank reported first quarter earnings.
“The notion of putting 7000 people in a building may be a thing of the past," says Staley.
Instead, investment bankers and call centre workers could end up at smaller locations, such as branches, signalling an end to long commutes.
Barclays, like almost all large banks has been busy reducing the size of its branch network as customers migrate to digital channels - a trend that could be accelerated by the pandemic.