British Airways Could Downsize HQ To Support Home Working

British Airways is reportedly looking at downsizing its head office near Heathrow in response to the changing dynamics of the workplace. As more office employees opt to work from home due to the pandemic, the airline is evaluating whether it needs such a large facility.

British Airways, Waterside, Head Office
British Airways is reportedly considering leaving its Waterside headquarters. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Just to the north of Heathrow sits the site that British Airways has called home for over two decades. However, it seems that the British flag carrier is re-evaluating its position when it comes to maintaining its presence at the building, which cost £200 million to construct. For several months, the building has remained largely unoccupied due to the pandemic.

A move to flexible working?

While nothing has yet been confirmed, it seems as though British Airways is exploring its options. Like many companies, British Airways has been allowing its staff to work from home where possible.

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This has meant that its offices have stood empty for much of the past year. Indeed, as a result, this is not the first time this story has come to press. In July, Head For Points revealed that such an action was already being explored.

British Airways, Waterside, Head Office
The site has been home to British Airways for over two decades. Getty Images

Coming out of the pandemic, many companies are looking to offer staff a more flexible working model. This is beneficial on multiple levels. Firstly, it gives the employee more flexibility to work when and where they want.

However, the model also has benefits for the business. Without paying the costs associated with running an office, it is freed up to be used elsewhere. With many companies hurting from the pandemic, especially airlines, this will also come as a boon.

Commenting on this, a British Airways spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“The global pandemic has shown us that many of our colleagues enjoy working remotely and want to continue, and this has accelerated our approach to offering more agile and flexible ways of working. Our aim is to find a hybrid working model that suits our business, blending the best of office and remote working for our people. We’ve also re-structured our business to emerge from the crisis and are considering whether we still have the need for such a large headquarters building.”

Will British Airways have to move out anyway?

Ultimately, it seems that British Airways’ decision could more be one of when, rather than if. Last year the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the construction of Heathrow Airport’s third runway.

British Airways, Waterside, Head Office
The site may need to make way for Heathrow’s third runway anyway. Photo: Heathrow Airport

Located to the north of the airfield, the runway and accompanying infrastructure would be built roughly where Waterside is currently located. This would require the office space to be knocked down anyway. Given that this fate likely awaits the site in the future, it could have a hand in making the decision slightly easier for the British flag carrier.

Do you think that British Airways should move out of its Waterside HQ? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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