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June 23, 2020

UBS may allow remote work permanently for one-third of employees

Swiss multinational investment bank UBS Group said that as much as one-third of its employees may work from home permanently in a post Covid-19 environment.

The Switzerland’s largest bank employs nearly 70,000 people in 50 countries and had 80% of its employees globally at home during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

UBS is now planning to allow employees to offices in a staggered approach by region as many as a third of its staff could work remotely on a permanent basis.

In an interview during Bloomberg’s Invest Global event, UBS COO Sabine Keller-Busse the bank is still evaluating which roles will return to the office.

Keller-Busse said back-office roles are more likely to continue working remotely, while trading operations are more easily conducted on the premises.

She added that being physically present at the office will remain important for several roles such as bankers preparing an initial public offering, while advisory relationships with wealthy clients can continue operations virtually.

The move to allow staff working from home and office is expected to result in decreased need for real estate in the longer term.

Keller-Busse said the bank is planning to pause or reverse its plans if second waves of Covid-19 infections take place.

Apart from UBS, another Swiss bank Credit Suisse is allowing employees to come to office in four phases. Antibody pilot testing is also being offered for employees in the bank’s major hubs.

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