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British Airways Looking to Sell Head Office in Post-Pandemic Shift to Permanent Home Working

British Airways Looking to Sell Head Office in Post-Pandemic Shift to Permanent Home Working

British Airways is working with a specialist property company to assess the possibility of selling its Waterside head office on the outskirts of Heathrow Airport in West London. The sprawling 114,000 square metre Neils Torp-designed HQ is made up of 14 buildings built along a 175-metre long indoor street where 4,000 staffers would normally socialise and hold informal meetings.

The site has been largely abandoned since March 2020 when the pandemic struck and, like many companies, British Airways ordered office-based staff to work from home. In an internal memo, the airline said it was surprised at how well staffers had adapted to the ‘new normal’.

Photo Credit: Nick Warner via Flickr

Stuart Kennedy, BA’s director of people told staffers that in a post-pandemic world many employees might want to reduce the number of days they travel to the office.

British Airways paid £200m for the land and construction of Waterside which was completed in 1998. The site was, however, already earmarked for bulldozing under Heathrow Airport’s controversial plans to build a third runway right through the area that Waterside currently occupies.

“Many of us are based at Waterside and it’s not clear if such a large office will play a part in our future,” Kennedy wrote in an employee email.

“We’ll want to consider what the ideal office layout for the future will be. Perhaps it’s less fixed desks and more casual meeting areas, and we need to consider colleague wellbeing, too,” the email continued.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline said that it was assessing “whether we still have the need for such a large headquarters building” saying that the pandemic had “accelerated our approach to offering more agile and flexible ways of working”.

BA chief executive Sean Doyle has, however, has warned of Zoom fatigue and how the negative aspects of home working might lead to a bounce-back for business travel.

View Comment (1)
  • This is a smart move on BA’s part as they shrive to get their arms around the “new normal” going forward as we vaccinate. The airlines have and or are shedding the older fuel burning fleets for the new much more efficient planes, thats a good thing. In the business world which I am a part of we are seeing more remote working either full or partial time away from their offices. Many of us are looking at downsizing our office space providing 50% less office/desk space rotating staff in and out. Our sales and marketing like the Airlines reservations staff can easily work from home and frankly more efficient.

    SO Kuddos to BA

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