UBS plans to allow two-thirds of its staff to permanently mix work from home and office, betting that the approach will give the Swiss creditor an advantage over Wall Street banks when it recruits.
The move to embrace a hybrid work model was led by CEO Ralph Hamers and his top executives, according to people familiar with the matter, and underscored the growing gulf with the tougher approach adopted by many American banks.
The Swiss bank has decided that only employees who have a role to play are required to perform in the office due to supervisory rules or to perform specific activities, such as salespeople and branch staff, will have little or nothing. flexibility in their work practices.
An internal analysis of its global workforce of 72,000 people showed that about two-thirds were in positions that would allow hybrid work, according to people familiar with the matter.
UBS’s position repeats that of European peers like that of France Societe Generale, but it is in stark contrast to the approach taken by several U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which have ordered New York staff to return to work.
After more than a year in which most bankers have been working from home offices, spare rooms and kitchen tables, the UBS decision indicates that a pandemic legacy may be a fundamental divide in work practices between and European and American banks.
HSBC Bank and head office in the UK Standard Chartered they have announced plans to allow staff to work from home or in places “close to home” to reduce office space and avoid city trips.
In an internal message to staff published last week and seen by the Financial Times, UBS said that “we are committed to offering you the flexibility for hybrid work (a mix of work from the office and from home) where the role , tasks and situation allow ”.
However, even staff offered to work hybrid will still be required to attend the office for certain activities, as agreed with their director.
The bank, which is headquartered in Zurich, has not yet set a date when staff will be required to return to the office. UBS declined to comment.
In contrast, Goldman staff have already been ordered to return to the bank’s headquarters in New York, while JPMorgan’s U.S. employees are expected to move to a regular office schedule from July 6.
James Gorman, chief executive of Morgan Stanley, was the the most strident in calling staff to return to the office. “If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you in the office,” he said at a recent company event.
Citigroup is one of the few large U.S. banks to date to introduce a hybrid work model, with staff allowed to work from home up to two days a week.
Despite relocating just five years ago to 5 Broadgate, one of the largest buildings in the city of London, UBS has long sought ways to allow more staff to work from home.
Last year he experimented with the issue of his London traders augmented reality headphones, which allows them to recreate the experience of working in a packaged business plan without leaving their homes.