May 20, 2020 / 9:58 PM / 12 days ago

CORRECTED-Mastercard to allow staff to work from home until COVID-19 vaccine hits market - exec

(Corrects headline to say Mastercard will not see more staff back in its offices until a coronavirus vaccine is available, from it will not send staff back)

By Noor Zainab Hussain

May 20 (Reuters) - Mastercard Inc will not ask staff to return to its worldwide corporate offices until a vaccine is available for the sometimes fatal coronavirus that has infected the globe, a senior executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

The world’s second-largest payment processor is also looking at its real-estate footprint and considering consolidating offices, Chief People Officer Michael Fraccaro said.

“We expect in the coming weeks and months that more employees will continue to work from home than come into office,” he said. “And we are OK with that. We support that choice.”

The company employs nearly 20,000 people globally, with its main headquarters in Westchester, a New York City suburb. Mastercard owns that campus, which it purchased from IBM in 1994.

When the situation stabilizes, companies around the world may find that their offices are only about 30% full, Fraccaro said, leading Mastercard to think about its future real-estate needs.

Mastercard joins other technology and financial firms that have said they do not plan to implement widespread get-back-to-the-office initiatives any time soon, including its main rivals American Express Co and Visa Inc.

But Mastercard has gone slightly further than others by saying it is waiting for a vaccine and not necessarily aligning its reopening timeline with when government lockdown orders end. Mastercard has created a “future of work” task force that is figuring out how best to handle real estate and employee needs, Fraccaro said.

About 90% of its workforce is operating remotely, including those based in overseas locations including Beijing and Shanghai, Fraccaro said. Employees who work in offices must follow social distancing rules, wear masks and undergo temperature checks, he said.

“Once there is adequate testing and there is a vaccine and people feel comfortable to return, then we may see more,” he said. “But in the early phases it will be vastly less than what we had.” (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru Editing by Anirban Sen and Matthew Lewis)

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