Unilever 'strongly encourages' staff to get vaccine

"We are strongly encouraging people to get a vaccine as soon as it is available to them," CEO Alan Jope said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.

Jope, whose company is one of Britain's biggest, said Unilever would do what it can to make vaccines available to its workers, but "in a very principled way".

For employees who decline the vaccine, rapid testing could be used to keep workplaces safe.

"We will not be mandating vaccines for anyone. We don't believe that is right," he said.

Unilever's office workers will be largely working from home during the current first quarter and then moving to a hybrid model where workers split their time between the office and home.

"We anticipate never going back to five days a week in the office, that seems very old-fashioned now," Jope said.

Unilever is testing a four-day work week this year in New Zealand.