HSBC bosses hot desk as executive floor scrapped at Canary Wharf HQ

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
FILE PHOTO - The HSBC bank logo is seen at their offices in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, March 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Reinhard Krause/File Photo
The HSBC bank logo is seen at their offices in the Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, March 3, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Reinhard Krause/File Photo

Cost cutting at HSBC means top brass will now be rubbing shoulders with their subordinates.

HSBC (HSBA.L) has moved to scrap the executive floor at its Canary Wharf headquarters, instead repurposing the private offices for client meeting rooms and collaboration spaces.

Top bosses including chief executive Noel Quinn will now hot desk in an open-plan space two floors below, according to a report in the Financial Times

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Quinn told the paper that the current arrangement was a "waste of office space" as many senior staff spent their time travelling around the world. 

Quinn told the FT that he won't be in the office five days a week in the future, noting that it was the "new reality of life."

The bank is planning to shift to a policy of around two employees per desk, excluding high street branches.

A spokesperson confirmed the FT report and said the bank had nothing to add.

READ MORE: HSBC plans to slash office space post-COVID

The move comes weeks after HSBC announced plans to slash office space in the wake of COVID, saying staff will instead move to more agile ways of working.

HSBC expects to reduce its office footprint by 40% in coming years, and wont renew city-centre leases expiring in the next three to five years.

Quinn has said HSBC is committed to staying at its Canary Wharf headquarters, which houses 10,000 staff. However, smaller offices are likely be closed.

READ MORE: Lloyds to axe 20% of offices as it moves to 'flexible working'

Other banks and large corporates are reconsidering how and where staff will work post-COVID. Barclays (BARC.L) chief executive Jes Staley last year said packed city centre offices could be a "thing of the past." Twitter (TWTR) has told staff they can work from home indefinitely.

High street banks have moved to shrink branch networks amid reduced footfall and a rise in online banking. 

Results of a survey released by Deloitte earlier this month showed a divide in opinion on the future of working from home. Nearly one in four workers said they hope never to set foot in an office again, while a slightly larger proportion (28%) said they are desperate to return. Around four in 10 (42%) said a balance between office and home work would be preferable. 

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