Bank offers flexible work pick ’n’ mix

ANZ-Centre-night-viewANZ Bank transformed staff engagement and productivity by implementing a ‘Playbox’ of different furniture and technology to match different ways of working.

Speaking at the Worktech conference in London last month, Australia and New Zealand Bank Group’s head of workplace Ken Lynch explained how the bank set about identifying 14 different ways of working and providing specific furniture and technology kits to match those options.

From 2012, Lynch said the property team’s relationship managers worked with staff to try and complement business objectives. “We talked about how people work and came up with 14 ways of working.”

“It is all flexible and reconfigurable. Meeting rooms expand and contract, even the kitchens are on wheels and can be changed,” he said. “Our rule of thumb for Playbox was that everything needed to be moved by no more than two people, almost everything is on wheels and it needs to be able to fit in the goods lift.”

Workplace change manager Tessa Roulston said the system turns flexible working around. “In activity-based working you have environments that people move to, whereas with Playbox the environment itself changes,” she said.

Lynch said the system can reduce the cost of a build by up to 30% because none of it is fixed. “In Asia there are 3-5 year leases. The prospect for landlords of us folding up our kit and taking it with us shifts the balance of power in lease negotiations. We don’t have to ‘make good’.”

The bank ran Playbox pilots and in one team staff engagement jumped from 30% to 90%, speed of decision-making went from four days to four hours and a new banking app was taken to market six months faster than predicted. In the contact centre, which also piloted the scheme, the net promoter score increased by 15% and the customer transfer rate reduced by 10%.

“From a financial perspective we avoided costs of $11m and increased revenue by $22m. That’s not bad for two teams,” he said.

ANZ is now working on Playbox 2. “We are really happy with the ways of working but think we can push the ‘kit of parts’ harder,” said Lynch. The team is keen to progress multi-functional furniture options – for example converting a couch to a meeting booth. It is also looking at integrating sensors into furniture and launching an accompanying Playbox app.

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