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HSBC to reduce real estate by 20%; introduces mindfulness sessions for stressed out home workers

HSBC to reduce real estate by 20%; introduces mindfulness sessions for stressed out home workers

HSBC intends to reduce its office space by 20% by the end of 2021, taking advantage of the work from home trend during the global pandemic to reduce real estate expenses.

In April, HSBC scrapped the executive floor at its Canary Wharf offices to make room for collaborative spaces and client meeting rooms in the post-pandemic economy. This move came just weeks after the bank announced plans to shift 1200 of its call centre staff to permanent working from home contracts as part of a wider reassessment of its real estate needs.

Presenting the bank's interim H1 results for 2021, HSBC chief Noel Quinn, says: "We are moving to a hybrid working model wherever possible, giving our people the flexibility to work in a way that suits both them and their customers. We will need less office space as a result, and we have plans to reduce our global office footprint by more than 3.6 million square feet - or around 20% - by the end of 2021."

Posting half-year profits after tax of $8.4bn, Quinn says the bank has seen a rise in fatigue and anxiety among employees as they adjust to the new way of working.

"To help tackle this, we have provided a variety of well-being resources to support our people, including mindfulness training," he says. "This is something that I continue to monitor closely, particularly as our people adapt to our new hybrid working model."

In May, the bank began a pilot test of Zoom-free Friday afternoons for UK staff i an effort to relieve the stress caused by endless virtual meetings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quinn also revealed a $3 billion technology spend in the first half of the year, up four percent on the same period last year, as the bank rolled out a series of new global money transfer products, and launched a new digital bank, Kinetic, for businesses.

Quinn says that more than 10,000 businesses have now signed up for Kinetic, "benefiting from online onboarding in 15 minutes, the ability to apply for lending products with instant lending decisions, and a number of critical insight

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