HSBC is reportedly providing over 1,200 call centre employees in the UK to permanent home working contracts.

Nearly 70% of HSBC’s 1,800 call centre staff in England, Wales and Scotland have volunteered for permanent remote working, Reuters reported citing trade union Unite.

The bank will provide $414.75 (£300) annually to cover the costs associated with remote working, Unite stated.

The contract changes for those taking up the permanent work-from-home arrangement were being finalised with teams, Unite national officer Dominic Hook was quoted as saying.

These employees need to come to offices only for training.

Union supported the change as it was made voluntarily.

“If it’s genuinely voluntary and people’s rights are protected then that’s fine, but people need to go in with their eyes wide open,” Hook said.

However, a quarter of the bank’s staff wanted to go back to the office working mode at least some of the time. Moreover, 5% wanted to work from the office on a permanent basis.

A spokesman of HSBC has stated that the discussions are continuing.

The spokesman was quoted as saying: “We are in discussions with contact centre colleagues who serve HSBC UK retail customers about ways that we can offer flexibility on work location while ensuring the way we work meets our customers’ needs.”

Lately, several banks have been reducing office space to cut costs to weather the Covid-19 storm. Some have also adopted flexible working arrangements.

In February this year, it was reported that Standard Chartered will surrender several floors in its main offices in Hong Kong in a bid to lower costs.

Similarly, last December, a report said that Barclays is considering trimming its office space in the UK, the US, and India to cut costs.

In November 2020, HSBC reportedly allowed all its employees in Hong Kong to work from home and office alternatively.

DBS adopted a similar approach, reportedly allowing all its employees around the world to work from home and office alternatively.

HSBC has also shuttered a call centre in Swansea, South Wales since Covid-19. Its main remaining call centres are located in Leeds and Hamilton.