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Mizuho to cut Singapore office space on work-from-home success

Singapore

MIZUHO Financial Group is set to trim its Singapore office space, as the Japanese bank looks to revamp the workplace in global financial centres in the wake of the pandemic.

Japan's third-largest lender is looking to cut about 16 per cent of space - equivalent to less than one floor - at Asia Square Tower 2 in the financial district, said people with knowledge of the matter.

Mizuho is an anchor tenant in the building, occupying four floors measuring about 9,755 square metres.

The bank is also looking how to make better use of its backup office at Changi Business Park, the sources added. It occupies 18,580 sq m there as part of its business continuity plan.

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Mizuho has already flagged plans to trim space in New York and London after determining that employees there remained productive while working from home.

In Singapore, the Japanese bank joins Citigroup in paring its footprint during the health crisis. Amazon.com is set to take over space left by Citigroup, part of a trend of tech behemoths expanding their presence in the city-state as online shopping soars.

Mizuho had already been considering an office revamp in Singapore, but the plans were exacerbated by the onset of the virus and ensuing government lockdown, the sources said.

After the social distancing rules were relaxed in June, only 35 per cent of its local staff returned to the office. And even after the government allowed more people to go back to workplaces in September, the bank did not rush to do so, raising the figure to about 40 per cent, the sources said.

While trimming office space will reduce costs, that was not the objective and it does not signal that the bank its cutting manpower, they added.

Mizuho is also planning to redesign its Singapore office, creating a more open, communal workplace to suit the needs of its younger workforce, the sources said.

But in light of the pandemic, safe management measures will be imposed to avoid crowding, they added. BLOOMBERG

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