freemexy: UBS says a third of staff could stay at home permanently

UBS says a third of staff could stay at home permanently

4 Aug 2020 at 07:58am
UBS says a third of staff could stay at home permanently

UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti said that the Swiss bank could shrink its office space, as up to a third of its employees potentially continue to work from home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.To get more UBS news, you can visit shine news official website.

The bank will be “reassessing the way we work going forward” Ermotti said during a call accompanying UBS’s second quarter results, after more than 90,000 staff have been working remotely for months as Covid-19 forced countries to lockdown.

Ermotti said that 70-80% of its employees are still working from home, but as the Covid-19 crisis ends “20% to a third” of staff would permanently work remotely. “The ramifications of this are huge,” he added.

Ermotti said that it would allow “flexibility in how we manage our real estate” and that the offices designed for business continuity management in the wake of an emergency have been “dramatically changed by Covid” as people have moved home instead of to a back-up site.

However, he added that the bank could work “another few quarters managing the bank this way”, but that it was unlikely that a large proportion of UBS’s workforce would remain working from home in the long term. Any function “with advisory” needs “social interaction and interactions with clients” he said, adding that getting people back into the office was important for the bank’s culture.

Ermotti is the latest major bank chief executive to raise the prospect of shrinking large centralised offices after the Covid-19 pandemic has upended working practices across the financial sector — an industry known for its culture of facetime.

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley told reporters during the bank’s first quarter results that large offices “may be a thing of the past”. “There will be a long-term adjustment in how we think about our location strategy... the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past,” he said.

Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing said during the bank’s annual general meeting in May that staff had delivered “excellent service to our clients” while working remotely. “Of course, we have to ask ourselves: can we give our staff additional flexibility to work from home if they want to?” he said. “And if that is the case, do we need quite so many offices in expensive urban centres?”

Meanwhile, JPMorgan’s chief executive of corporate and investment banking Daniel Pinto said that he could “envision a scenario” where more employees work from home on a rotational basis that would mean “reducing square footage” of its offices.

Large investment banks have been slow to bring employees back to the office in London despite the UK government lifting lockdown restrictions and encouraging staff back to work by 1 August.

Royal Bank of Scotland said on 20 July that around 49,000 UK-based staff would remain working from home until 2021.

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