Our Space – ANZ’s approach to a new global workplace

by FM Media
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KEN LYNCH and KATE LANGAN from ANZ share how ANZ has applied a consistent, but translatable design to its global workplaces and how it has successfully implemented a flexible working program.

The striking thing about ANZ’s global headquarters in Melbourne’s Docklands is the ability to walk right into the heart of the bank. In 2006, when ANZ decided to consolidate its property portfolio from 13 dispersed sites in and around the city into seven key locations, there was a conscious decision to use the building to embody the bank’s values and to take the opportunity to transform its culture.
Today, the very open, public domain that leads through the ANZ Centre from Collins Street to the boardwalk along the Yarra River is a deliberate statement to welcome customers and the local community, as well as the bank’s staff, into the development. Reflective of ANZ’s desire to move away from a traditional ‘closed’ banking image, light and space are used to create a sense of openness and permeability. A simple palette of timber and glass reiterates the message of ‘uncomplicated and transparent’, while the use of bluestone, which is traditional to Melbourne, connects the bank to the city. In addition, the free flow of interconnecting space enables visitors to see and engage with the workspace, and to experience and be a part of active daily life at ANZ.

TRANSLATABLE DESIGN
‘Connection’ is crucial to ANZ. The building embodies this, not just horizontally (across the large 9000-square metre floor plates), but also vertically with double atria containing stairs and articulated meeting spaces connecting the five-storey and 10-storey buildings that interlock to create the whole development.
Specialist customer-facing suites on the ground floor are also designed to help staff connect with customers and business visitors, while an auditorium with the capacity to hold 215 people allows ANZ to communicate internally and externally for major bank events.
As the bank’s global headquarters, the ANZ Centre in Melbourne has some unique qualities. The challenge for its property team has been to distil the elements from the building and the customer-facing services that it has enabled into translatable design for other global locations. With a key mission of creating environments to enable a super regional bank, consistency in these working environments (both branch and office) and levels of service is, therefore, key, as is respecting the local setting and avoiding a ‘cookie cutter’ approach.
As a result of the ANZ Centre experience, the bank’s commercial environments are now designed specifically to influence the way that people interact. Environments are open plan with easy access to natural light, have wireless connectivity and provide a deliberate diversity of work settings and amenities. The latter can be influenced by local cultural expectations. Coffee shop facilities can translate into larger communal eating spaces. Nursing mother rooms and prayer facilities are provided worldwide. In the work setting, collaborative space is matched with workstation space at a 48 percent to 52 percent ratio. Team storage is encouraged over individual storage – all staff in new environments are provided with a small, dedicated locker (there are over 8000 lockers in the ANZ Centre in Melbourne).

FLEXIBLE WORKING PROGRAM
Our Space is the name given to ANZ’s flexible working program, symbolising the aspiration to share and empower facility users. Successfully initiated at the ANZ Centre, where in excess of 7200 staff now flexibly use 6500 desks, the program does not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Each business unit is engaged to build an understanding of how space is actually used.
As with most change, ANZ has found that staff can be reluctant to adopt new working practices at first. However, benefits become apparent when each team is taken through a change program to explain the practical elements of choosing different work settings to suit the task in hand. ANZ adopts a ‘neighbourhood’ or ‘home zone’ approach, which usually comprises 20 to 60 staff.
One of the biggest challenges ANZ faces is the relocation of staff from vertically stacked, smaller floor plate environments into larger open spaces with interconnecting stairs and multiple visual links. Space is designed to flow freely, from public zones in foyers or receptions, through shared ‘active’ space around primary circulation routes and meeting facilities, on to more private but shared neighbourhood space. Visitors are hosted in public domains outside staff security lines. Once through the security barriers, staff have open access to all levels, rooms and services throughout the building.
Movement between floors is actively encouraged by providing varying amenities in various locations throughout the building. The new workplace necessitates a more centralised approach to services. ANZ has also gained a financial benefit by centralising the purchase of stationery, beverages, vending machines and even staff services, such as offering staff dry cleaning services, versus the individual budgets previously held by business units.
Printing and waste are areas where a larger work community or shared approach has also proven beneficial. The introduction of mobility has led to the adoption of ‘follow-you printing’, where staff can collect printing from networked multi-function devices throughout a premises by swiping an access card. Uncollected printing is eliminated when devices ‘reboot’ overnight. Centralised waste management is also proving beneficial, with ANZ’s levels of non-recyclable waste declining year on year.
The Our Space approach empowers teams to recognise opportunities to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing with options to modify furniture layouts or introduce specialist elements, such as display areas or touchdown benching.
ANZ’s property team carefully manages requests to ensure that the overall environment retains flexibility. Home zone boundaries can stretch and shrink to meet the varying demands of the business or to include a particular facility. Leaders in the business play an important and active role in supporting the open, flexible approach by speaking at staff events and giving staff the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns.

GLOBAL CHANGE
Since opening the ANZ Centre in Melbourne in September 2009, ANZ has invested globally in its commercial infrastructure. Over the last three years, new style workspaces have opened in Singapore, Hong Kong, Brisbane, Perth, New York, Manila and Chengdu, with Sydney, Auckland, Wellington and London in construction at the time of writing and due for completion in 2013.
Each work environment has a local feel through the use of indigenous stone and timbers; each is filled with natural light and, where possible, is based in a building recognised for its green credentials. Each offers flexibility and transparency, reflecting the qualities that support ANZ’s aspiration to be the best connected and most respected bank for staff and customers alike.

Ken Lynch is the head of commercial workplace for group PM property at ANZ and Kate Langan is the group general manager of property at ANZ.

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