HSBC brass top forces office heat as head office removes executive floor

HSBC Managing Director Noel Quinn has scrapped the entire executive floor of his Canary Wharf skyscraper in east London, as the bank becomes the latest to make sweeping changes in post-employment working practices. pandemic.

Top managers were kicked out of their private 42nd-floor offices, which were turned into meeting rooms for clients and spaces for collaboration, Quinn told the Financial Times. Executives – including the CEO – now a hot desk on an open-plan floor two floors below.

“Our offices were empty half the time because we were traveling the world. It was a waste of real estate, ”he said. “If I ask our colleagues to change the way they work, then it’s just that we change the way we work.

“We don’t have a designated office. You show up and take one in the morning, ”he added. “I won’t be in the office five days a week. I think it is unnecessary. . . It is the new reality of life. “

HSBC has already made efforts to modernize a culture that has been compared to the vast British civil service of the Imperial era. Over 20 years ago, the management tell staff preparing to move into the new headquarters at Canary Wharf that they were “encouraged to adopt the proposed open plan”.

More changes were coming, Quinn promised. To meet its goal of cutting costs at its global headquarters by 40%, HSBC does not plan to renew many of its downtown leases due in the next three to five years. The bank is also moving to a policy of around two employees per window, excluding branches.

“We will have a very different working style in the future, which will be much more hybrid, where colleagues can work both in the office and at home,” said the CEO.

Quinn, a 59-year-old HSBC lifer from Birmingham, is also targeting other parts of the bank’s operations.

The bank is in the middle of a program to cut 35,000 jobs in order to reduce the workforce to around 200,000 people. This will help it eliminate $ 5.5 billion in costs with profits under pressure from ultra-low interest rates and a slowdown in global trade.

HSBC office changes related to Covid echoes those of his peers.

Britain’s largest mortgage lender To allow its 13,000 office workers will work full time from home if they so choose. Lloyds is conducting hybrid function tests this spring after 77% of employees “expressed a desire” to continue working remotely.

Standard Chartered has signed a agreement with flexible office company IWG to enable many of its 95,000 employees to work from locations “near home” rather than commuting to town.

Quinn, who has been in charge for over a year and a half, has started to make his mark on other aspects of the bank’s leadership. Last week he shifted four senior division leaders in Hong Kong from London.

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