Standard Chartered Bank revealed late last week that it will provide all its employees with access to “near-home” work locations, or decentralized offices that, while not near the traditional locations for banks—the central business and financial districts of major cities—are more accessible to employees.
The new initiative involves a partnership with serviced office provider IWG, which will provide Standard Chartered's 95,000-strong workforce with access to some 3,500 locations around the world for a trial period of 12 months. While the bank has not mentioned specific countries or regions, IWG operates in approximately 110 countries and has a presence in all the major financial hubs.
Andy Halford, Group Chief Financial Officer of Standard Chartered, reportedly cited employees' commute time, travel costs, and the desire to reduce the bank's carbon footprint as deciding factors in the bank's decision to provide decentralized workplaces. The notoriously high cost of office space in financial and business districts may also have been a contributing factor.
“There are many positive opportunities for productivity, employee experience, and inclusivity from flexi-working. However, our enforced absence from the office has highlighted the benefits that we and our clients get from face-to-face interactions, the value of physical workspaces and the important role of the workplace for our wellbeing,” he was quoted as saying by Financial Mail on Sunday.
The provision of decentralized offices follows on the bank's statements last November that it will offer flexible work options to some 90 percent of its staff over the next three years, beginning in early 2021, and that the majority of staff surveyed have been in favor of hybrid working.