Hot-desking To Be More Widespread Among Singapore Bankers
SINGAPORE – While financial firms were late-adopters to the hot-desking culture, recruitment firm Robert Walters believes that the trend will be more widely adopted by Singapore banks, as they slash their office footprint to help lower operating costs, reported eFinancialCareers on Thursday morning (12 May, SGT).
“It’s going to happen right across the board in all major financial services sectors,” said Robert Walters’s Regional Director John Mullally, referring to the trend, wherein banks reduce leased office space.
He estimates that many financial institutions are only using 60 percent to 70 percent of their present office capacity, even though the return to the workplace has been ongoing for several weeks.
Other recruitment experts agree that more banks will move away from the traditional desk set-up in favour of hot-desking, in light of the recent trend to slash the amount of office space being leased.
For instance, Standard Chartered is poised to surrender 9 office floors it is currently renting at Marina Bay Financial Tower 1. Similarly, rivals such as DBS, Mizuho, and Citigroup have announced plans to downsize their office footprint during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They rented office space that was fit for purpose back in 2018 that they needed.” But the pandemic has shown that banks don’t need 100 percent of their workforce to be in the office 100 percent of the time, Mullally explained.
Although a refurbishment to incorporate a desk-sharing layout in the office will take some time, these changes could be on the near horizon, as Standard Chartered is set to relinquish office space at Marina Bay Financial Tower 1 when the lease expires in October 2022.
However, some Singapore bankers feel that hot-desking is a step backward.
“A desk of one’s own is not merely more convenient and ergonomically sound. It is a sign that you are valued by, and belong to, an organisation,” wrote a Singaporean banker in a Reddit post.
A 40-something financial professional in Singapore also added that hot-desking diminishes her “sense of belonging” in the office.
Other bank employees expressed concerns over privacy when talking about confidential matters in an open setting, while another banker was worried about stiff competition to secure a hot desk.