May 18, 2020 / 5:26 PM / 8 days ago

AmEx says employees can work from home through 2020

(Reuters) - American Express Co employees that are able to work from home should continue to do so for the rest of the year, Chief Executive Officer Steve Squeri said in a video message on LinkedIn as he spoke about a return-to-office plan.

"We still don't know exactly when we'll start coming back. We expect it will take several months in most locations. The key here is that returning to location will not happen all at once," he said in an almost five-minute long video here

Squeri said the company would open buildings on a “location by location, floor by floor and colleague by colleague basis, with the work environment expected to be “completely different” from what it was before the outbreak.

“If you can work from home effectively, you should plan on doing this for the rest of the year,” he said, adding that AmEx’s offices in the near term will mostly serve as an alternative workspace.

AmEx employees that need to work from office will return in phases, starting with 10% occupancy, and no likelihood of it reaching close to 50% this year.

Squeri said employees returning to offices would not be allowed to hold meetings in conference rooms. Rules would also bar visitors and access to cafeterias, in addition to other social distancing measures and temperature screening.

As the virus outbreak hit business volumes, AmEx moved from a largely brick-and-mortar operation to having more than 60,000 employees equipped to work from home and two-thirds of its customer-care professionals working remotely by March end.

The credit card issuer has already said it would avoid job cuts in 2020 as it “rides out the storm” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; additional reporting by C Nivedita; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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