Offices launch

Barclays opens campus as hybrid working advances

Barclays new home on the Clyde

Barclays has opened its sprawling new campus in Glasgow as a new survey adds to evidence that people prefer to spend more time working from home.

The 500,000 sq ft scheme over five buildings on the south bank of the River Clyde is the biggest redevelopment of commercial space in Glasgow in a generation and has taken four years to complete at a cost of £330 million.

Barclays currently employs 3,700 in Glasgow and says it is on track to house 5,000 staff in the new Tradeston complex by 2023, mainly working in technology, operations and functions support to its consumer, corporate and investment banking activities.

However, surveys continually point to employees demanding more time spent working remotely. As a result, companies are re-assessing their office needs, with even global companies allowing their employees to spend more time working from home.

Many companies are relocating staff to modern, Covid and climate compliant spaces while others are shutting some offices or downsizing their requirements.

Jes Staley

Jes Staley: changed his view on home working

At the opening of the Tradeston facility, Barclays CEO Jes Staley said it would “allow the group to attract the best talent”, though last year he said there could be a change in the bank’s office requirements.

Speaking to reporters in April 2020, he said: “The notion of putting 7,000 people in [a] building may be a thing of the past.”

He later rowed back on his comments and after announcing fourth quarter results in February this year, he said: “I think it will be good to get people working in the same location again.”

The decision on whether to insist on all staff returning to the office or allow more remote working continues to divide companies.

Big four accountant PwC has announced changes to allow greater flexibility for post-pandemic working among its 22,000 employees.

Called the ‘Deal’, it said the decision reflects the firm’s commitment to supporting its people and responding to changing working patterns accelerated by Covid. The changes will help embed a hybrid working model and align with PwC’s Net Zero commitment.

A new study today by comparison website NerdWallet found that more than two-thirds (69%) of hybrid workers are now commuting to work for three days or less on average each week.

According to another survey by Beamery, the talent operating system, only four in ten 18-24 year-olds said their work life balance was better before the pandemic, though there is also evidence among this age group that they feel a need to meet their colleagues and managers in person.

Almost half (48%) felt that a lack of face time with their employers over the past 12 months has slowed their career progression. 

Hybrid working has had an impact on cafes, restaurants and bars, and on transport services, with the number of commuters still sharply down.

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