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UBS changes stance and embraces hybrid working

New CEO, new approach.

Allie Nawrat


Credit: UBS.

Unleash Your PeopleUBS’ new CEO Ralph Hamers is pro-flexible working.

  • The banking sector as a whole has largely rejected remote or flexible working.
  • UBS has joined the likes of Standard Chartered and HSBC in allowing most of its staff to spread their time between home and office-based working once the pandemic comes to the end.
  • The Swiss-headquartered bank hopes this will help it attract the best talent.

Back in September, UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti said that he thought it was difficult for banks to create and sustain a company culture when their employees were working from home.  

Ermotti said that, in the long term, he expected only up to 30% of UBS employees to work from home in the future.

As a result, the Swiss-headquartered bank joined many of its competitors – including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JP Morgan – in rejecting remote or hybrid working as the new normal.

However, Emrotti has since stepped down as CEO – and taken a job as chairman at Swiss Re.

His replacement, Ralph Hamers, has a different view of long-term remote and hybrid working. This is partly because, according to the Financial Times, UBS believes this will give it an advantage when it comes to recruiting new talent.

UBS has now decided to allow most of its staff to work flexibly and choose between working from home and in the office. This move is being driven by Hamers and his executive team.

Reuters quoted a UBS internal memo that said: “We are committed to offering our employees the flexibility for hybrid working where role, tasks and location allow.”

The bank assessed all its job families and concluded that two thirds had roles that could be done effectively and compliantly from home. The remaining third, which includes supervisory roles, traders and branch staff, will be given little or no flexibility.

However, the Financial Times reported, that all employees will be required to attend the office for certain activities – the details will be agreed with individual managers.

This move brings UBS in line with some of the banks breaking the mold and embracing hybrid working, including Standard Chartered and HSBC.

However, unlike Standard Chartered, UBS is yet to announce when it will open its offices and staff can begin to move from working remotely to working in the office.

The memo continued: “Hybrid work options will be introduced on a country-by-country basis, with timing dependent on the local pandemic situation.”

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