Harbour views just not good enough, say bankers

by Caroline Dann06 Jul 2012

While brokers might be content to call a freezing car their office while on the road generating business this winter, it appears banking types are not so easily pleased.

In fact, no longer content with identikit cubicles in their large corporate digs in the city (complete with harbour views of course), executives on the other side of the banking fence from the humble mortgage broker are demanding more from their office space -  to the point where one could wonder if they go there for work at all.

One real estate firm has seen a spike in clients seeking ‘activity-based layouts’, which replace cubicles with open-plan spaces, break-out rooms and ‘chill-out zones’.

"'You have neighbourhoods or hangouts, zones for different teams, not assigned desks. There are a variety of other settings that people can work from - quiet concentration areas, collaboration areas - each company has their own interpretation of that but at the heart … you work in different settings depending on the kind of activity you're undertaking,'' Rajiv Nagrath, Jones Lang LaSalle’s head of corporate consulting, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

 Anyone tiring of their colleagues’ cluttered desks will be happy: paperwork and files would be stored in personal lockers. 
According to Nagrath, it comes down to making workers more collaborative.
“The office is more transparent, people have a face. Earlier we'd just send something to legal or to finance and it's some faceless person asking you to process stuff. Now you see people more because it's more transparent,” he said.
Macquarie Bank was one of the first major organisations to adopt this egalitarian approach when it redesigned its Shelley Street building in 2008.
Jones Lang LaSalle’s own office was recently remodelled - and the swapping of desks for lockers meant no awkward space shortage for its new staff.
“We can keep adding people without having to add more real estate because we know there's an inherent vacancy,” he said.


  • by Moonae 6/07/2012 10:03:02 AM

    Fine by me. Keep them cosy and lazy and in meetings about organising meetings rather than actually helping humans get finance and we'll be over 50% of market share in no time.

  • by Frank 6/07/2012 12:07:46 PM

    Given the success of offices like Google its no wonder a lot of Australian companies are taking this approach. We have set our smaller office up in a similar fashion, no more separate offices (other than client meeting rooms) and a lot more break out areas.

    It definitely helps build a more cohesive team, and really drives collaboration and open thinking.