Il Sole 24 Ore - 25 February 2020
Smart working “liberalised” for lawyers and assistants, stop to business trips, taxi vouchers granted to all employees to avoid using public transport. But also busy phone lines due to the many clients to be reassured and issues never faced before. The first working day of Milan professional firms in the time of coronavirus went by like this, talking via Skype rather than meeting in person in the offices, where only skeleton staff was present.
The alert began on Sunday, just after the adoption of the regional preventive measures. “Over the weekend we coordinated with all partners – explained Angelo Bonissoni, managing partner of Cba firm, which has various seats in Italy, among which Milan, Venice and Padua – and we decided to close Lombardy and Veneto offices to the public”. Employees have been instructed to work remotely from home; “there are about 150 people involved” he added.
Given the high number of accesses to the network, the first step was to increase cybersecurity. Some meetings have been moved outside the emergency areas: from Milan to Lugano, for example.
For thousands of professional operating in the Milan finance community, working online already is a reality: contacts with international networks and foreign clients all happen through videoconference. “The only difference is that today we are using videoconference also to talk with the colleague who usually works upstairs” comments Simonetta La Grutta, partner of the consulting firm Grant Thornton in charge of the People Hub department.