HSBC moves 1,200 staff to permanent home working - report

By Sean Farrell

Date: Wednesday 07 Apr 2021

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - HSBC is switching more than 1,200 of its UK employees to permanent home-working in a further sign of companies locking in changes to work patterns wrought by the pandemic.
About 70% of the bank's 1,800 call centre staff in England, Wales and Scotland volunteered to quit office working for good, the Unite union told Reuters.

Unite said HSBC had offered staff 300 a year extra pay to cover costs such as higher energy bills. Contract changes are being finalised and those taking part will only have to visit the office for training, the union said.

A quarter of the HSBC workers consulted wanted to work in the office at least some of the time and just 5% wanted to go back permanently. Many businesses, such as PwC, are aiming for a hybrid working week with two or three days in the office when the pandemic ends.

Nationwide Building Society has allowed 13,000 office-based to work wherever they choose after more than half said they did not want to return after lockdown. By contrast, David Solomon, Goldman Sachs's chief executive, has said working from home is an "aberration".

Many people have thrived working from home during lockdowns, saving time and money on commutes. Some others, particularly those less experienced or without plenty of living space, have felt stressed or isolated.

Unite said HSBC was at the forefront of the shift and that it broadly welcomed workers having the choice if it was handled properly.

"If it's genuinely voluntary and people's rights are protected then that's fine, but people need to go in with their eyes wide open," Unite national officer Dominic Hook told Reuters. "After a year it may not seem that bad, but after five it might feel different."

HSBC 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."