I consult for a UK based bank which just two weeks ago closed it’s London office. The London office is in a shared building, and one case of a person who has been in close contact with a COVID-19 infected person has effectively shut down the building for cleaning. The Hong Kong, New York, and New Jersey offices are the only buildings left available for operations.
Since the client is a systemically important financial market utility, by design, none of their critical systems are remotely accessible. These critical systems are protected behind layers of firewalls and are only available via specific terminals at specific locations in New Jersey and New York City.
Let me be clear. These systems are systemically important to the global financial markets, and employees supporting those systems must be physically present.
As of last night, the company initiated it’s pandemic and business continuity response plan.
The company will be enforcing CDC recommended social distancing restrictions of 6 feet between workspaces. The New York and New Jersey offices will have extremely diminished seating capacity.
Starting next Monday, 16 March, all staff working from the New Jersey and New York City offices will alternate being in the office. Group A will work in the office one week, then work from home for a week while Group B works onsite. Staff will sit in designated seats that are 6 feet apart.
Once the UK office has been sanitized, employees who work in a critical capacity will be the only ones allowed back into the building.
This operational mode is expected to be a temporary situation and is an attempt to balance the risk to staff against the company’s responsibility to the global financial markets and US federal contingency requirements.