Mastercard Inc. employs almost 20,000 people globally, thousands of them concentrated in its Westchester, New York, headquarters, a modern office space with cafeterias, game rooms, and gathering spaces. Before COVID-19, these were amenities meant to draw in talent and encourage employees not to go home. Now in this pandemic-rearranged world, they’re liabilities.

Like most other workplaces with large percentages work being done digitally, Mastercard moved to a nearly complete work-from-home model back in March in order to help protect its employees and their productivity. According to Chief People Officer Michael Fraccaro, more than 90 percent of the company’s workforce is currently working remotely—not just in New York, but worldwide, including the company’s headquarters in China. And all of this while Mastercard has launched a massive new anti-fraud program, since the immense bubble of pandemic-driven online shopping has led to an equal rise in online credit card fraud.

According to Fraccaro, Mastercard has launched a “future of work” task force to study work-from-home efficiency and re-evaluate the company’s needs for the future, both in real estate and in personnel. Much is still up in the air, but what he does know is that the company won’t be requiring most of its staff to return to their physical offices until there is a much more authoritative disease response to COVID-19.

“We expect in the coming weeks and months that more employees will continue to work from home than come into office. And we are OK with that. We support that choice,” Fraccaro said. “Once there is adequate testing and there is a vaccine and people feel comfortable to return, then we may see more. But in the early phases it will be vastly less than what we had.”

Mastercard is not alone in committing to this sort of ongoing flexibility. Rival credit card companies American Express Co. and Visa Inc. have both made similar statements in recent days. The past few months have proven that working from home is a viable business solution for many industries, and hopefully it will become a greater part of the employee landscape for much longer than this disease lasts.

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