Responding to orders that employees should work from home starting Tuesday in San Francisco to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Charles Schwab — based there and with large facilities near Dallas, Austin and Phoenix — has struggled to make arrangements to comply.
Executives said at midday Tuesday that some 7,000 of the firm’s 20,000 employees are working from home in different locations.
“Even with our plans in place, this crisis has brought forth some unpredictable issues that we are working to address now,” according to a staff memo from Nigel Murtagh, executive vice president of corporate risk, that was obtained by Bloomberg.
“Like many companies, we simply did not build into our plan the need to have the majority of employees work from home at the same time. So we are in the process of building out that capability now, as quickly as possible,” Murtagh explained.
After being taken to task on the firm’s response to the coronavirus Tuesday on Twitter, Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger updated the firm’s policies Wednesday on LinkedIn: “Starting tomorrow, all employees who have the ability to work remotely may do so.”
Still, Bettinger said, some “critical functions” must continue to be done on site — network operations, cybersecurity, trading and other areas. For roles that need more infrastructure to be done remotely, he said “leadership will guide you on the process for getting the right tools as quickly as possible.”