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Supporting UniCredit Employee in times of Covid-19




In response to the pandemic emergency, UniCredit made decisions quickly to protect the employees, allowing them to work safely and effectively. 





Response to COVID-19: quickly shifting to remote working


The response to the pandemic emergency was immediate and restarting business actvity again in all areas was carried out effectively. Despite the emergency, business continuity and the focus on stakeholders was maintained and even enhanced thanks to a set of initiatives aimed at supporting people and boosting digital acceleration such as:

ensuring business continuity for all critical processes with resilient IT infrastructure and fast transition to remote working:

• VPN capacity was rapidly increased by 10 times compared to pre-crisis levels enabling 80,000 employees to secure remote working access. Colleagues wew provided with approximately 16,000 additional laptops in order to work remotely

• bandwidth capacity of more than 2,700 Italian sites was increased by about 4 times.

• steps were taken to reduce cyber security risks, with the focus on fraud prevention, enhancement of cyber security monitoring and detection activities, network security and increase in security awareness

digital tools for business support and remote working were introduced

support for the Next Normal model of remote banking and working: by contributing to the upgrade of our IT architecture to boost our digitalisation process and developing new collaboration tools such as digitALL2 to further support the transition to remote working.





Welfare and work-life balance


Welfare initiatives were developed locally in order to respond to needs of colleagues, paying attention to special local requirements in specific countries with central coordination to guarantee consistency and respect of the Group welfare principles and guidelines.


Several programmes to meet fundamental health, personal, family and work-life balance needs were established in all Group countries.

Programmes supporting health and psycho-physical well-being were introduced, as well as various services to assist both families with young children managing work and home-schooling, and all colleagues taking care of elderly family members or those with disabilities.


In October 2020 the bank signed the Joint Declaration on Remote Work, with the European Works Council. This document aims to develop a global approach to offer all our colleagues access to remote working in the future.


Following the Covid-19 outbreak, in 2020 the UniCredit Family Board was established, which created a global action plan to address the new personal and family needs resulting from our listening initiatives. Many initiatives have already been developed across the Group, mainly focusing on flexibility, respect of working hours, home-schooling support for working parents, IT infrastructure and sustainable mobility partnership extensions, and support services for psycho-physical wellbeing.





A look country-by-country Initiatives


In Italy: talking about  “the new normal”, a free phone hotline service and many other initiatives

To deal with the unprecedented times we are living in – “the new normal” – during the lockdown period in 2020, our Welfare team launched:


  • a programme to support colleagues with tips (7 video pills) to improve their psycho-physical wellbeing in their personal and professional lives.
  • a free phone service was also available to offer our colleagues psychological support from an emotional perspective.
  • 3 digital Masters courses: the Life Value Programme is an "experiential gym" which leverages the Life Based Learning method to help people transform their life events into soft skills.  
  • Additional insurance coverage and new health services for colleagues who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in mandatory quarantine at home or in public health facilities.


In Germany, everyday life-tips, exercise videos and interactive challenges


  • an online tool called “Better Home Office” offered access to articles, videos and expert interviews designed to foster a stress-free new working environment.
  • HVB Social Counselling Service provided, mental health services available to offer information about onset psychological symptoms.


In Austria, psychological consultations and a meditation app:


  • IBG Health Center offered psychological consultations by phone or video whereby employees and managers can turn to psychologists for help with professional or personal struggles..
  • a mindfulness and meditation app called eleMental, developed by Dr. Bardia Monshi, who is a renowned psychologist, resilience and mental trainer, author on the theme "positive thinking is not enough" and a long-standing cooperation partner of Bank Austria. UCBA employees have the opportunity to try the app until September for free. For those who wish to continue using it, UCBA will cover the costs for an extension until the end of the year.


In Serbia a complete clinical examination:


  • Our private health insurance provider offered all employees a complete clinical examination should they carry Covid-19 symptoms or be Covid-19 positive, including: lung X-ray, MRI, scanner, and laboratory analysis. Thanks to the testing availability, colleagues can check themselves and thus reduce anxiety by being sure that they haven’t suffered other side effects due to Covid-19.


In Slovenija, free psychologist consultations:



  • UniCredit Banka Slovenija introduced for consultations with psychologist free of charge. This is part of family-friendly measures introduced as the bank holds the Family Friendly Company certificate. To support colleagues that have faced challenging work and personal situations during the Covid-19 crisis we have actively promoted free talks and increased the number of hours each employee could use.


In Russia, a remote healthcare marathon:


  • The wellbeing team launched UniCredit Bank Health Challenge, available for all employees. The health challenge is a 4-week remote healthcare marathon covering four areas, including psychical activity, sleep, nutrition, and stress management.
  • In additional, a free and anonymous psychological helpline for employees was available to give recommendations on such topics as, for example how to help children cope with self-isolation during Covid-19, as well as tips on how to reduce anxiety while self-isolating at home and webinars on psychological wellbeing.


In Bulgaria, online physical fitness programmes:


  • We launched initiatives encouraging our colleagues to take part in at-home, physical exercises to relax different parts of the body.
  • ·Moreover, the HQ initiative was created to help colleagues working at their desks in the HQ buildings. The programme encouraged employees to get to their desks using the stairs instead of the elevator as a safer and healthier alternative. We called the campaign “5 reasons to choose the stairs instead of the elevator,” promoting it using stickers in the stairs along with a blog. Each sticker has a motivating text like, “the way to the top is stairs to success: climb them!”, ”make the first step – it’s easy: use the stairs!”, “final meters to the top: don’t give up!” or “the difficulties are temporary: climb up!”


In Hungary, mindfulness practice and learning tips:


  • The HR Team introduced Learning tip of the week to communicate and provide learning advice, videos and relevant content on a weekly basis.  In order to achieve a work-life balance, people are invited to follow some mindfulness practices to slow down and better manage their time.  Mindfulness helps you be more effective in today’s busy world. It reduces stress, increases focus, and improves your ability to deal with challenges, both at work and home.


In Croatia, motivational videos and engaging internal campaigns:


  • During these uncertain times of Covid-19 and in the aftermath of the strongest earthquake in the last 140 years in northern Croatia, Zaba’s top management shared motivational video messages on the local Intranet and messages through the mobile banking application.
  • A new channel for employees providing psychological assistance via calls and e-mails was introduced, along with special financial support to those affected by Covid-19 or the recent earthquake, and m-doctor services that are free-of-charge, offering psychological help for all employees.
  • Tips for leading virtual teams were introduced and the importance of relaxation and recreation via the intranet continuously promoted, as well as e-learning/educational videos on LinkedIn for achieving positive change and stress management.
  • A new welfare program was introduced - with extended benefits for employees and their families, specifically focusing on wellbeing.
  • Zaba conducted a very successful and engaging internal campaign, Fight against COVID-19, promoting virtual Kids days offering - creative storytelling events for employees’ children.