UBS plans to allow up to two-thirds of its staff to mix home and office work on a permanent basis, betting the approach will give the Swiss lender an edge over Wall Street banks when hiring.
The decision to adopt a hybrid business model was led by CEO Ralph Hamers and his senior executives, according to people familiar with the matter, and underlines the growing divide with the harsher approach taken by many U.S. banks.
The Swiss bank has decided that only employees whose roles need to be performed in the office due to supervisory rules or to perform specific tasks, such as merchants and branch staff, will have little or no flexibility in their banking practices. job.
An internal analysis of its 72,000 employees worldwide showed that about two-thirds held positions that would allow hybrid work, according to people familiar with the matter.
UBS’s position echoes that of its European peers like France Societe Generale, but in stark contrast to the approach taken by several US banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which have ordered their staff in New York to return to work.
After more than a year in which most bankers have worked from home offices, spare parts and kitchen tables, UBS’s decision indicates that a legacy of the pandemic could be a fundamental split of working practices between European and American banks.
UK banks HSBC and Standard charter announced plans to allow staff to work from home or in locations “near home” to reduce the office footprint and avoid commuting around town.
In an internal staff message published last week and seen by the Financial Times, UBS said, “We are committed to providing you with the flexibility of a hybrid job (a mix of work in the office and home) where the role, Authorize tasks and place “.
However, even staff proposed for hybrid work will still need to report to the office for certain activities, as agreed with their manager.
The Zurich-headquartered bank has yet to set a date for staff to return to the office. UBS declined to comment.
In contrast, Goldman staff have already been sacked at the bank’s New York headquarters, while US employees at JPMorgan are expected to adopt a regular work schedule from July 6.
James Gorman, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, was the the most strident calling on staff to return to the office. “If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can walk into the office and we want you to be in the office,” he said at a recent corporate event.
Citigroup is so far one of the few major US banks to introduce a hybrid work model, with staff allowed to work from home up to two days a week.
Although it only moved five years ago to 5 Broadgate, one of the tallest buildings in the City of London, UBS has long looked for ways to allow more staff to work from home.
Last year she experimented with the issuance of her London based traders with augmented reality headsets, allowing them to recreate the experience of working in a crowded trading floor without leaving their home.