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HSBC top staff to hot desk at London HQ as bank
scraps executive floor
CEO Noel Quinn and other senior managers have been kicked out of their offices on the 42nd-floor.
HSBC Holdings Plc has scrapped the executive floor of its Canary Wharf headquarters in London and turned the
private offices of its top staff into client meeting rooms and collaborative spaces.
Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn and other senior managers have been kicked out of their offices on the 42nd-
floor and will hot desk on an open-plan floor two stories below, Quinn told the Financial Times in an interview. The
offices were empty half of the time because the senior staff was traveling around the world, which was a “waste of
real estate,” he said.
Quinn told the newspaper that he won’t be in the office five days a week, saying “it’s unnecessary” and “the new
reality of life.” A representative for HSBC confirmed the FT report to Bloomberg News.
The London-based bank, which expects to eventually shrink its property footprint by 40%, doesn’t plan to renew
many of its city-center leases due in the next three to five years, Quinn said. The lender is also shifting to a policy
of about two employees per desk, excluding branches, he said.
Last year’s abrupt shift to remote working has sparked a debate across industries about future demand for office
space, prompting a number of global banks and other large firms to rethink how employees operate. Standard
Chartered Plc this month formalized hybrid working for staff across its global operations after 84% of employees
asked to keep the flexible arrangements pioneered during the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, not all banks are embracing a permanent shift to working from home. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief
Executive Officer David Solomon said in February that remote work was “an aberration that we are going to correct
as quickly as possible.”