Sunday 14 June 2020 12:09 pm

Lloyds prepares to downsize UK office space

Lloyds Banking Group is exploring options to reduce its property footprint, as more staff transition to home working.

The bank’s people and property director Matt Sinnott told staff this week that while no closures were certain, Lloyds will be seeking to consolidate its presence to six strategic hubs across the UK.

“In the longer term we will be working to understand what the future of work and the office looks like, which will also help to inform our decisions,” he said in a statement today.

In a memo to employees, first reported by the Sunday Times, Sinnott said due to “changes to the way we work” in a post-crisis environment, it was likely Lloyds would “need fewer buildings and different types of spaces” in future.

Lloyds sold off its Gresham Street offices to China’s Hengli Investments in 2017 for a reported £160m. The bank agreed a 20-year leaseback deal for the 119,742 square feet City base.

“Our priority is the health, wellbeing and safety of our teams and we will be engaging with them on their preferred future working arrangements, while also building on our agile and flexible ways of working that we have been using for some time,” Sinnott added today.

“This is a new situation for us, and we don’t have all the answers right now, but I hope that it will give us an opportunity to reset and improve the way we work for the future.”

The move comes as businesses begin to adjust to new ways of working and an increased focus on flexible arrangements. Big Four accountancy firm PwC reopened its offices last week with social distancing measures in place, which accommodates about 15 per cent of staff.