Top HSBC executives to hot desk after losing private offices

Senior managers in HSBC’s headquarters will have to hot desk on an open-plan floor instead of occupying private offices, the banking giant’s chief executive, Noel Quinn, has confirmed.

Mr Quinn told the Financial Times that the move is part of HSBC’s cost-cutting plans to shrink its office space by 40 per cent in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, HSBC said it was making the change to capitalise on new hybrid working arrangements that would see employees working partly from home and partly in the office.

Mr Quinn said this would be “the new reality of life”, adding that he would no longer be present in the office five days a week.

He said: “We don’t have a designated desk. You turn up and grab one.”

Top managers at the bank had previously been working in private offices on the 42nd floor of the Canary Wharf headquarters, which Mr Quinn branded as a “waste of real estate”.

He said: “Our offices were empty half the time because we were travelling around the world.”

But the new arrangement means senior executives will be moved two floors down and will have to contend for a workspace among other employees. The 42nd floor will be transformed into client meeting rooms and other communal spaces, reported the FT.

HSBC has 66 offices in the UK, with at least 10 in London, according to its annual report. Mr Quinn said in February that while he was committed to keeping the Canary Wharf headquarters, HSBC would likely close offices elsewhere in the capital as they come up for lease renewal.

The bank is also forging ahead with its cost-cutting plans, and is expected to reduce its workforce by around 35,000 employees.

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