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British banking giant moving 1,200 staffers to work-at-home contracts: report

British banking giant moving 1,200 staffers to work-at-home contracts: report
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A major U.K. bank is moving hundreds of staffers to work-from-home positions on a permanent basis after more than 70 percent of the bank's 1,800 call center employees volunteered to do so.

Reuters reported Wednesday that HSBC will move 1,200 staffers to remote work, adding that discussions were still ongoing regarding the exact conditions of the arrangement.

“We are in discussions with contact center colleagues who serve HSBC U.K. retail customers about ways that we can offer flexibility on work location while ensuring the way we work meets our customers’ needs. These discussions are continuing," a spokesperson told the news service.

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Many workers around the world in various industries remain at home after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting public life. Many workers in multiple sectors of the economy still have no word when they will return to in-person work.

The company has offered employees planning to work from home a stipend of 300 pounds or roughly $414.75 to cover extra costs including electricity, heating and internet/phone costs, while union officials said contract changes for employees taking the offer were still under consideration.

“HSBC are at the forefront of this,” Dominic Hook of Unite, one of the country's largest unions involved in the discussions, told Reuters. “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."

“After a year it may not seem that bad, but after five it might feel different," he added.

Twitter announced last year that it would allow some staffers to move permanently to a work-from-home basis, as did Square, another company owned by Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey.

An internal survey of Google employees last year found that a majority would rather return to the office for at least part of the work week, though many indicated that they believed they could do their jobs remotely on a permanent basis or on a scheme in which they only return to Google's campus for specific events or projects.