Bertelsmann employees who are able to work from home must do so from now on. The Bertelsmann Executive Board’s decision applies to all companies worldwide and takes effect immediately. At the same time, the many different protective and preventive measures for colleagues at companies with industrial activities will be expanded.
Bertelsmann is stepping up its measures in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus: Employees who are able to work from home (WFH) must do so from now on. This applies worldwide and takes effect immediately. Following its early ban on business trips and, a little later, on conferences and meetings, the Executive Board has now decided that all employees whose duties meet the necessary requirements must work from home from now on. Exceptions are only made in cases where presence at the workplace is absolutely necessary, which must be decided by the local management – who are also tasked with creating the appropriate conditions for WFH at their companies.
The Corporate Center in Gütersloh
At the same time, the many different protective and preventive measures for colleagues at companies with industrial activities will be expanded. For example, shift and working time models are to be adapted so that only smaller teams are at work at any one time. In addition, more disinfectants are now being dispensed at the companies concerned – because thorough cleaning of hands is and will remain one of the most important preventive measures against coronavirus infection. In addition, the pandemic helpers or contact persons at companies are now equipped with respiratory masks. These will be used if a colleague falls ill at work and needs help.
At the Corporate Center in Gütersloh, the obligation to work from home has been in effect since 2 p.m. yesterday – and until further notice. Only a skeleton staff from individual departments will have access to the Corporate Center during this time. The canteen will remain closed, but the Corporate Center as a whole will not. Bertelsmann Unter den Linden 1 in Berlin and the Brussels Liaison Office will close. Even before the Executive Board’s directive, some Bertelsmann companies had already sent their employees to work from home wherever possible. As reported, the Bertelsmann companies in China already began to do so in February, above all the Bertelsmann investment fund BAI in Beijing, whose employees stayed in contact with each other and with the company’s holdings exclusively via telephone and the video communications software Zoom for weeks on end.
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As the epidemic spread to Europe and North America, companies in those regions started having their employees work from home last week. They included Penguin Random House in New York, the Corporate Center in Gütersloh, SpotX in Denver, Arvato Financial Services in Baden-Baden, Relias in Morrisville, G+J in Hamburg, and BMG worldwide. Yesterday, other companies followed suit, including RTL Group in Luxembourg, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland in Cologne, and Random House UK in London.