Standard Chartered has told its 75,000 staff they can work when they want and wherever they want, becoming the latest financial institution to make drastic permanent changes to office life.
As well as offering employees the option to select the hours, days and location they want, the London-listed banking giant told its workforce on Thursday that it was in talks with a third party to provide extra “near-home” work spaces.
The new rules could prompt its big bank rivals to follow suit. There were fears in Whitehall over the summer that changes triggered by coronavirus will become permanent, turning city centres into ghost towns.
Standard Chartered expects almost all of its staff to move to a hybrid working model by the end of 2023 although it said that those who want to spend all of their time in the office or all of their time at home can do so.
“While we have been thinking through the issues around future workplace for some time, it’s inevitable that recent events provided a catalyst,” said the bank’s HR chief Tanuj Kapilashrami. “We also see this as an opportunity to appeal to a wider and more diverse potential future workforce.”
Standard Chartered is not the only large financial institution to make permanent changes, although it is one of the largest. Earlier this year Britain’s largest listed asset manager Schroders fired the starting gun on the end of City life when it said staff could carry on working from home even after the pandemic.
One insider said at the time that the change will end the presenteeism which has long been an issue in finance, with employees across the industry known for putting in shifts of 12 hours or longer.
Other City firms that have made permanent changes to working life include Numis, broker to over 210 London-listed companies including Asos and Ocado. Britain’s biggest high-street lender Lloyds is also experimenting with different ways it will use its office in future.