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In June 2020, we produced a webinar series, “Adapting to the New Normal,” to help you understand and plan for the building design and logistical changes brought on by the pandemic.

Now, 2 years later, we’re STILL talking about the permanent effects on FIs.

If you’re like nearly every financial institution, your path forward is to aggregate as many services as possible at fewer locations, including your HQ. It may need transformation to house fewer administrative personnel (with some now permanently working remote) but more back-office / call center support for lending, investments, and the like.

Now, bringing the “new normal” full circle, here’s our update with the top 5 ways to achieve the ultimate, post-COVID HQ transformation.


1. Variety is the spice of (work) life

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In the modern HQ, variety is a key factor to a successful workforce. The pandemic created the opportunity for employees to work wherever they could be productive, with the tools necessary. When employees can use different spaces for different types of tasks, their productivity and happiness go up. Adding variety is worth the investment.

At HQ, certain workspaces should be specifically designed to support interactions that cannot happen remotely. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, negotiations, critical business decisions, brainstorming sessions, providing sensitive feedback, and onboarding new employees are examples of activities that may lose some effectiveness when done remotely.

Offer workspaces that are a mix of collaborative and private: 79% of staff connect a variety of workspaces with a great place to work. Different office configurations could be employed depending on whether a group is brainstorming, hosting a workshop, or conducting a daily stand-up meeting, for example:

  • A variety of workstations, like flex spaces, rolling tables, phone booths, sit-stand desks, and outdoor workstations can satisfy a desire to move around.
  • Huddle rooms, smaller collab spaces for meetings between 2-4 people, save space and money.
  • Incorporating open workspaces, benching stations, meeting rooms, and breakout rooms into your headquarters shows that your institution values in-person communication.

2. Shhhh ... quiet space needed

quiet-area39% of employees value privacy in their workplace. Your HQ should provide focus places for staff to hole up and work in complete silence and privacy. Provide a secure environment by incorporating switch glass or screen-cloaking technologies in open floor plans. Quiet zones, secluded spots for individual work, can improve productivity by 38%!

For areas with open floor plans, make sure there is adequate noise control and provides some sort of privacy for maximum comfort. Offices with white noise or other sound-masking materials report a 38% increase in performance on simple tasks and a 27% increase on complex tasks.

 

3. Keep (virtually) everyone happy

With more than half of executives expecting to offer remote working in the near future, it is safe to assume that there will be a regular need for collaboration between in-office and remote workers. That’s why it is critical to convert your meeting rooms into virtual meeting rooms, capable of video-conferencing. How do you do that?

  • Placing screen(s) that can easily be seen from anywhere in the meeting space
  • Providing cameras and microphones for easy, clear communications
  • Equipping the room with smart, interactive whiteboards
  • Reconfiguring the space for better acoustics, or adding sound-dampening materials

You should also look at converting other spaces into virtual collaboration stations if you don’t have multiple meeting rooms. As teams become more dispersed, more and more of these spaces will be needed. One of the best spots to convert? Unused office space that was once filled with now-remote workers!

4. Bye, Boomer: make way for Millennials, Gen Z, and let’s not forget Gen X

As of the third quarter of 2021, 50.3% of U.S. adults 55 and older said they were out of the labor force due to retirement. If your institution has been affected by this COVID-induced retirement surge, consider how and why technology modernization and physical space updates can help you attract and retain talent from ALL the other generations: Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z. Millennials are estimated to represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. Gen Z will represent 27% of the workforce. And right now, let’s not forget Gen X in the middle, representing about 33% of the workforce.

Technology is intrinsic to Millennials and Gen Z, who have grown up with cell phones, laptops and instant access to information. Gen X has spent their professional lives embracing the internet and other tech. Offering a broad spectrum of collaboration, task-management and production technologies attracts these workers. Examples include:

  • Digital screens in break rooms to broadcast company values, announcements, social and news feeds, employee recognition, and other important messages.
  • Interactive kiosks and tablets that contain apps like educational games and training materials which staff can explore both on their own and during on-boarding or skill building.
  • Internal messaging and chat tools increase team culture and transparency.

Besides up-to-date technology, having an attractive, colorful, Instagram-worthy work environment is also important. Millennials and Gen Z highly value a comfortable, quality workspace offering amenities such as residential-style kitchens and lounges, game rooms and open work areas.

breakroom-digital5. Level up your company mission with employee awareness

To accompany the physical and technology updates, evaluate how your brand story and core beliefs are present in your HQ experience. Build a framework for an evolved workplace experience with a playbook to help your employees understand the mission.

A good tool to employ for internal brand building is digital signage. 74% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated and recognized. Employee recognition is especially successful on digital screens, where staff can be highlighted in meaningful ways—not just a picture on the wall with a Sharpied ‘employee of the month’ written on it.

Getting started

To get your HQ transformation started, DBSI strategists can help. We have studied real project data and historical analytics and created a formula that can be used to estimate business growth and put actual numbers to their project needs. Called FAQtor7, this tool is best described as an HQ calculator that can be customized to create an actionable, data-backed HQ project plan.

Contact us today to get started on your HQ transformation!