HSBC scraps individual offices for execs and tells them to 'hot desk' instead as part of its post-pandemic work plan

  • HSBC executives no longer have their own offices, CEO Noel Quinn told the FT.
  • Top managers have been moved two storeys down at the bank’s London HQ and have to “hot desk,” he said.
  • Quinn said HSBC would adopt a hybrid working model so staff can work both at home and in the office.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

HSBC has moved top managers out of their individual offices in the bank’s London headquarters as part of its post-pandemic working plan, and is asking them to share desks instead.

The bank’s CEO, Noel Quinn, told the Financial Times on Sunday that the 42nd floor of the Canary Wharf office — previously just for execs — had been turned into client meeting rooms.

Executives at the bank, one of the world’s biggest, are now “hot desking” on a floor two storeys below, Quinn said.

“Our offices were empty half the time because we were travelling around the world. That was a waste of real estate,” he said. “If I’m asking our colleagues to change the way that they’re working, then it’s only right that we change the way we’re working.

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

A person familiar with the matter told Insider the executives weren’t annoyed about their new office space. They will still have their own floor, they just won’t have individual offices, the person said. The plan to move executives off the 42nd floor had been in the works for around a year as the bank had been redesigning the offices, they added.

Read more: HSBC is letting US interns pick between in-person and virtual work schedules for its 10-week summer program

Quinn told the Financial Times that HSBC wasn’t renewing many of its city-centre leases that are due to expire in the next three to five years, as it aims to cut 40% from its global head-office costs. He also said the bank would introduce a policy that requires two employees at every desk — this excludes branches.

“We will have a very different working style going forward that will be much more hybrid, where colleagues can part work in the office, part at home,” Quinn said.

In a separate post on LinkedIn, he said that “the last thing I want is to be stuck in an individual office when I return to the building.”

“I want to have people around me, to reconnect with colleagues and friends,” he said.

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