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Coronavirus: Barclays staff told to work from home until at least 15 June

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Barclays HQ at Canary Wharf in London. (Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

Barclays (BARC.L) has told staff in the US and UK they will be working from home for at least another month, as employers around the world grapple with how to keep staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff were sent a memo on Monday saying the bank was planning for a “phased return” to the office that would be “gradually and carefully implemented.”

Barclays said a “small percentage” of staff in the US, UK, and India may be asked to begin returning to the office from 15 June “at the earliest,” if government guidance allows it.

Staff in the bank’s Hong Kong office are already returning, with 60% now back in the office according to Bloomberg.

A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment.

The UK government on Monday urged those who could work from home to continue doing so “for the foreseeable future”.

“Workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible,” an official briefing document read.

US President Donald Trump is pushing for the American economy to reopen even as COVID-19 deaths there are set to climb above 80,000.

READ MORE: UK government says work from home 'for the foreseeable future'

Barclays said in its memo to staff that reopening offices would be “very complicated” and involve working out childcare and transport arrangements for employees.

Social distancing and extra safety protocols will also be in place within buildings. Last week Goldman Sachs told staff they would also have to get used to social distancing in the office.

Barclays said the new measures would necessarily limit the number of people who could be in the office at any one time.

Last month Barclays chief executive James ‘Jes’ Staley said packed office buildings “may be a thing of the past.”

“We will find ways to operate with more distancing over a much longer period of time,” he told journalists on a call.

“Obviously it’s going to be gradual with a real key focus on social distancing.”