There is a breeze of change in the corporate, formal banking world. The dated cubicle partitions are slowly paving the way for a more open-plan, collaborative work environment beneficial for both employees and clients. We are used to perceive banks as a place for transactions with a strictly established barrier between employees and clients. But some of the forward thinkers in this sector seem to have caught upon the global thrill towards coworking and open plan, collaborative work environments. Some of them have started turning their back to the soulless, uninspiring ambiance of the strict banking interior, and gradually embracing the concept of the shared office environment. Benefiting both employees and clients, here are the three leading protagonist in this newly emerging movement.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Desk Union at the Square, Edinburgh, Scotland
Desk Union at the Square is a pioneering coworking space, which opened doors on the first floor of Royal Bank of Scotland’s iconic flagship branch on St Andrew Square in the heart of Edinburgh. The trendy, open-plan design of the space is tailored not only to an innovative community of entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers, but also to the employees of RBS. The space aims to provide stimulating workplace environment to help ideas thrive and develop as well as provide an exciting alternative to the formal setting of the bank. In her own words Victoria Arnold, CEO, Desk Union shares:
“The way we work is changing. We are no longer restricted to set hours or based in office cubicles. Businesses crave ‘touchdown’ workspace, where workers can meet, connect and collaborate with like-minded coworkers. In recognising this growing trend for shared space, flexible working, Royal Bank of Scotland will be supporting growth businesses across Scotland that are looking for workspace in the city’s capital.”
The National Australia Bank
The Village, Melbourne, Australia
Another bank with a forward-thinking view on the changing patterns of the workplace is The National Australian Bank. With the launch of the The National Australia Bank (NAB) Village Customer Innovation Centre, the bank infused a breath of fresh air into the corporate setting of its workplace. The Village consist of flexible, drop-in desk space, and casual meeting areas for impromptu catch up with the team. This coworking space welcomes the next generation of workers, looking for a collaborative workspace environment, escaping from the solitude of working form home. Employees of NAB are also encouraged to take their meetings with clients or team in the coworking space, offering them a creative surrounding to spring new ideas.
Offering private as well as shared office environment, the Village also has a learning area, in the form of a digital experience room. It is specially designed to hold workshops and showcase how NAB deals with its customers in order to maximise business opportunity.
BNP Paribas Fortis
co.Station, Brussels, Belgium
Situated in the centre of Brussels, co.Station is home to promising startups and entrepreneurs looking to take their projects and ideas to the next level. In partnership with the Belgian bank BNP Paribas Fortis, the coworking space offers inspiring workplace environment along with funding opportunities in support of innovation and creative thinking.
The coworking space organizes regular events, inviting prominent entrepreneurs and key established figures from various industries to give presentations and lead workshops in the spacious events venue of co.Station. The open-plan layout offers many diverse seating and meeting areas to prompt communication and connection between the community working from the space. BNP Paribas Fortis employees are often seen to hold their client meetings in one of the seating area, providing a more casual and relaxed setting than the typical meeting room in a bank.