UniCredit eases travel ban, starts to ramp up return to office

[MILAN] UniCredit will allow essential work trips for many countries starting June 15, as it joins global rivals in cautiously allowing employees to return to pre-pandemic business practices.

The bank, led by chief executive officer Jean Pierre Mustier, said that travel to and from the US, Brazil and Russia won't be allowed, according to a memo to staff dated June 8. Trips must be approved by a direct manager.

A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment.

UniCredit is based in Milan, at the heart of the province that became the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy. Its 4,000 staff in the Porta Nuova district are housed in three glass-and-steel skyscrapers, including Cesar Pelli's 31-story Tower - a challenge for social distancing.

The return of employees will gradually increase and business meetings will again be allowed on site, though subject to restrictions, according to the memo.

At UniCredit's larger offices in Italy, about 10 per cent of the workforce is already going to the office, for which there are temperature checks and the requirement to wear a mask.

The Milanese bank isn't alone in having to figure out when and how to bring backs its thousands of staff, as infection rates drop in continental Europe. UBS Group and Credit Suisse Group will begin allowing more employees to return to their Swiss offices in June.

UniCredit's memo laid out an updated set of "Golden Rules" to govern conduct, advising staff to avoid getting too close to others, to wash hands frequently, and to use video conferencing when possible.

It's also looking into a reservation app.

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