HSBC will move more than 1,200 staff in Britain to permanent working from home contracts in an attempt to cut costs post-lockdown(s). The bank has gone one step further than introducing “hybrid working” contracts, where staff work from home some of the time, which some have predicted will become “the norm” when the country (and the world) unlocks. Reuters has the story.
HSBC is moving more than 1,200 staff in Britain to permanent working from home contracts, in one of the strongest indications yet of how banks are locking in changes to employees’ work patterns as a result of the pandemic to cut costs.
Around 70% of the bank’s 1,800 call centre staff based across England, Wales and Scotland had volunteered to never return to the office, Unite, one of Britain’s biggest employment unions, told Reuters.
Scores of companies have quickly cemented hybrid working and cut office space, but HSBC’s move to base some staff permanently at home goes further than most rivals opting for a mixed approach.
Such changes could lead to wellbeing concerns long term if not handled properly, Unite said.
A HSBC UK spokesman said: “We are in discussions with contact centre colleagues who serve HSBC UK retail customers about ways that we can offer flexibility on work location while ensuring the way we work meets our customers’ needs. These discussions are continuing.”
Unite said HSBC has offered staff a £300 per year working from home top-up payment to cover additional expenses such as higher heating and electricity bills.
A surprisingly high percentage of staff opted to work permanently from home, with only 5% saying they would prefer to fully return to the office.
Dominic Hook, the union’s national officer, said the contract changes for the 70% opting in were being finalised with teams, with those taking it up expected only to come in to HSBC offices for training.
A quarter of staff declined the offer as they wanted to work in the office at least some of the time, while 5% preferred to go back to the office permanently.
When Manhattan businesses began to reopen in March, only 10% of office workers returned to the workplace. Even in the long term, employers in the city expect 56% of their office staff will continue working remotely at least part of the time – an indication that work habits after Covid will be very different.
Reuters’ report on HSBC is worth reading in full.