|By Lee Phillips
Managing Director, UK Fit Out
As we all continue to make sense of the impact of Covid-19, the decisions we make today will have a lasting impact on our future. However, it’s the banks that understand better than anyone the importance of long-term planning and building resilience.
Prior to the crisis, some financial institutions were already anticipating more remote working and looking at rationalising their estates, endeavouring to optimise their workspaces based on lower occupancy rates. This trend is likely to continue.
However, one thing is for certain – however popular remote working becomes when we come through the current crisis – the physical office environment will have a huge role to play in increasing productivity and promoting wellbeing and a sense of belonging among your people.
“Front and centre of the long-term thinking needed to emerge from the current challenges will be the ability to do more with less. That is to say, ensuring people can operate as efficiently and productively as possible.”
Lee Phillips, Managing Director, UK Fit Out
For a long time, businesses have placed an enormous emphasis on their property portfolio. But, with so much of the balance sheet tied up in staff salaries and costs, too little attention has sometimes been placed on how investing in one can take the pressure off the other.
Our findings show that over half of those in the finance sector believe they would be more productive at work if their employer invested in a higher quality workspace. Whether creating a new state-of-the-art HQ or rationalising an existing portfolio – whatever the size, shape, scale or location of your estate – at the core of the workspace should always be the individual.
When it comes to wellbeing, space is equally important. In the finance sector, those in good working conditions are more optimistic about their working lives; they are twice as likely to feel positive about their work than those in poor conditions, with almost 90% agreeing they frequently meet their objectives.
As we enter a new reality for our world, wellbeing will undoubtedly emerge as an even larger component of organisations’ people strategies and the workspace can play a crucial role in supporting this. As we all know, the best employers are considerate of wellbeing and giving people choice and flexibility is key. Getting the blend right between remote working, technology and high quality space for people when they need it will have a big role to play.
For the world’s biggest financial services firms, the role of the flagship offices, that sit as the crown jewels in their estate, has not been diminished - in fact they may have a more crucial role to play than ever as we look to the longer term.
Working remotely can’t replace the role of workplace in creating an environment for people to be their most productive and articulating values and vision. In the finance sector, 78% of people in positive working environments feel they share the same values and goals with their colleagues. Uniting people under a common purpose can be crucial in creating a sense of belonging and psychological safety, something that is heightened in times of uncertainty.
As banks look beyond the current downturn, discerning businesses will be considering which investment decisions will best help their people and performance rebound and yield the most sustainable return to growth. Investing in people through the workplace should take its rightful place, high on the agenda.