Bucking the trend among the world's megabanks, UBS has decided to permanently allow as many as 2/3rds of its workforce to transition to a "hybrid" work model allowing them to spend time working from both home and the office.
That's in stark contrast to JPM, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, which have all announced plans to recall bankers back to the office on a full-time basis, with no allowance for any kind of a hybrid model. While Morgan is allowing its bankers a little longer to transition back to the office, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman recently quipped that bankers who don't want to report back should be ready to brook a pay cut because "if you want that NYC salary, you need to be in NYC offices."
Morgan Stanley is also ordering all employees in the New York office to be vaccinated before returning to the office; even clients will need to be vaccinated (and provide proof thereof) before being allowed in Morgan's offices.
JPM's Jamie Dimon has emphatically insisted that working in the office sparks "creative intelligence" that comes from workers interacting with each other, along with other employees who aren't necessarily directly involved with their team. But UBS's "internal analysis" shows that 2/3rds of its workforce were in "positions suitable for hybrid working". However, some roles, like traders and branch staff, will still be required to work on-site.
No date for a return to the office has been set for UBS, according to the FT, which broke the story.
As Bloomberg reminds us, UBS Chairman Axel Weber and former CEO Sergio Ermotti hinted earlier this year year that a flexible working model was under consideration and that at least 1/3rd of UBS's workforce could work permanently from home. Citigroup is also reportedly considering a similar arrangement.
Deutsche Bank has also said it's working on plans to allow some staff to work from home up to three days a week. But so far, no major players in financial services have announced a plan anywhere near as radical as UBS's, which is more akin to the arrangements cropping up in the tech world.
Of course, now that international paranoia about the Delta variant has reached a fever pitch, and a handful of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe have either reimposed lockdown measures or delayed plans to lift them, simply allowing more employees to work from home permanently might be the simplest policy for a multinational institution.