UBS says remote work might be permanent for one-third of staff

UBS says remote work might be permanent for one-third of staff

Swiss bank UBS Group AG said Monday that as much as one-third of its staff could work from home permanently after the coronavirus pandemic eases.

The bank’s chief operating officer, Sabine Keller-Busse, said at Bloomberg’s Invest Global event that UBS is examining how to return employees to their offices in a staggered approach. The bank is prepared to pause the effort or reverse course if a second wave hits, she noted. 

UBS is still determining which employees would need to work in offices, but employees in back office roles are more likely to continue working from home than those with trading operations positions, she said.

“We will see a hybrid situation,” Keller-Busse said, according to Bloomberg. “We will see quite less travel.” 

The bank employs slightly fewer than 70,000 people across 50 countries and had 80 percent of its workforce work from home during the pandemic’s peak. 

Keller-Busse also said it will be important for bankers who are getting an initial public offering together to be physically present, but those who advise wealthy clients can continue remotely. 

She added that she expects other banks to divide their workers between the office and home.

Bloomberg reported last week that rival Credit Suisse Group AG said the increase of online banking could reduce the amount of real estate and employees needed in the medium term. The bank is allowing employees to return in four phases and giving antibody pilot testing for workers in certain areas.