Heritage Bank to embrace work from home permanently

by Mike Wood14 Apr 2021

Heritage Bank are set to implement sweeping changes to their ways of working in response to lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Brisbane-based bank have announced that they will move offices to a new location and move to a hybrid working model that will encourage working from home and working from the office as a permanent feature going forwards.

Heritage currently have two Brisbane locations, one in Milton and one in the CBD, but these will now be consolidated into their new Eagle Street office. The head office in Toowoomba will be unaffected.

“Our experience in COVID-19 showed that it is now possible for our people to work from home effectively, without any loss of productivity, and to enjoy the greater flexibility that this arrangement provides for work-life balance,” said Heritage CEO Peter Lock. “At the same time, people still want to have that sense of connection and camaraderie with their colleagues that you only get by working together in the same location.”

“Working from home 100% of the time didn’t suit many of our people, and we are very mindful of the potential mental health issues of working in isolation. A hybrid model, with some time spent working from home and some time in the office, is an arrangement that gives us the best of both worlds.”

Heritage engaged their works before making this huge change.

“We relied absolutely on the feedback from our staff in making this decision,” said Lock. “All of our office-based staff worked 100% from home during the peak of the pandemic lockdowns last year. The overwhelming response we got from staff afterwards was that they wanted the flexibility to keep working from home some of the time, but to also come into the office to mix with their colleagues part of the time as well. That’s a healthy balance that’s great for productivity, team morale and job satisfaction.”

Now that Heritage has made the first move, others may well follow suit.

“There’s no doubt that the office-based operations of banks will change permanently, as will many other office-based professions,” said Lock. “Of course, our branches remain a key part of our operations, and they will remain a face-to-face service for our members. However, COVID has dispelled any myth that working from home for office-based roles couldn’t be done.”

“In fact, our experience was that people were more productive than ever working from home. What we also needed to consider is that is that people crave social connections and contact with others, so we have to provide opportunities for that as well. Hybrid arrangements that provide the flexibility to mix up working modes will definitely be here to stay.”