In what is fast going from trend to normality, HSBC is the latest organisation to fully commit to a hybrid working model.
In late February, HSBC announced that in line with its transformational working structure of giving employees the choice to be either based entirely remotely or in a so-called hybrid model – that would create a much less structured office environment.
According to reports by British newspaper The Independent, it will be cutting its office space by about 40%.
“We are focused on those offices with support functions and head office activities when we talk about the 40% reduction. We believe we’ll achieve it via a very different style of working post-COVID with a more hybrid model,” said HSBC’s chief executive Noel Quinn.
This follows on from an initiative last November by the London-headquartered bank that enabled much of its 30,000-strong Hong Kong workforce to work up to four days a week from home – and they would even be given a HK$2500 allowance to set up their office, if they so choose.
The approach by HSBC is a stark contrast to the one taken by venerable US investment bank Goldman Sachs – which has flatly rejected the idea of reducing its office space to accommodate a sustained move to a hybrid model of work.
Head of Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, said in late February at a conference that the bank wouldn’t consider a remote future a long-term, referring to it as an “aberration”.
This is despite the fact that the firm is currently operating with less than 10% of its workforce in a physical office building, due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US.
“I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us. And it’s not a new normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible,” Solomon said at the conference.
Over the past year, a number of large organisations – notably tech firms – have embraced a hybrid working model including Twitter, Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Last month, Spotify followed suit, announcing a “work from anywhere” policy.