There’s no denying that, since the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a monumental shift in the purpose of the workplace, and the finance industry has changed as much as any.
In this article, we take a look at the trends that are reshaping the finance industry, its office spaces and its workforce.
While certain aspects of office-related work have returned to the way they were pre-pandemic, most businesses find themselves in a new age of remote-first working, where the office is considered a secondary destination to remote working.
For this reason, financial companies are now having to reconsider the way their office spaces work for their team and their clients, and how designs can be improved to support them.
As many activities can now be performed more effectively remotely, the primary function of financial office spaces has become to accommodate team and client meetings, making traditional layouts and designs somewhat redundant. Instead of just being a ‘sweatshop’ of desks, the priority of the modern finance office is to encourage knowledge exchange – socialising, collaborative working and more formal meetings.
This means removing windowless areas and closed-door offices and replacing them with open spaces, such as magnetic and inspiring communal areas where your employees actually want to spend time.
Financial businesses need to understand their team and base workplace designs around what will create the best working environment.
For example, international trades take place during late hours. Give extra consideration to office lighting by avoiding anything too bright or harsh. Consider additional security lighting to help your staff feel safe when leaving the office in the dark.
Your space is going to be used primarily for client meetings, so maintaining an impressive front for your clientele is also key.
Traditional firms may wish to create a domestic feel, which can be achieved by factoring in muted acoustics through features such as curtains, rugs and plants.
Alternatively, companies with younger teams may want to communicate a modern edge through their office design, choosing to showcase sleek furniture and state-of-the-art technology, or more sensitive, ‘green’ environments – whatever aligns with your brand.
No matter what design you settle on, people are craving in-person connection; there’s an expectation that more time will be spent in the office, but that time will be spent more efficiently than before.
This is no different in the financial sector.
While we don’t expect hybrid and remote working to go anywhere, especially not in finance, we do anticipate that the balance may shift towards more days in the office, both to help boost morale, and to also help with team-based productivity.
As with many industries, keeping up with rapidly changing tech is essential to future-proofing your finance company. Modern businesses should be using state-of-the-art technology, demonstrating to potential clients that you’re up to date, and ready to handle any challenges they might throw at you.
With online meetings and Teams calls being the primary method of communication between your employees and your clients, you need to ensure that your office space provides boosted focus spaces, as well as a friction-free, high-quality digital experience.
If employees find that their set-up in their home office enables them to perform better, they will have no incentive to use the space. It must seamlessly accommodate in-person and online meetings, making it a hard decision between working from home or heading into the office.
Smart tech is also going to create waves in the financial workspace, but more on that a little later on.
Lease breaks offer a fantastic opportunity to reassess whether you’re getting true value from your existing workspace.
The current mantra is “twice the experience, half the space”. We’re seeing a trend where many firms are choosing to downsize to accommodate smaller headcounts, with many opting to reduce their overall floorplan and prioritising intelligent design instead.
Identify roughly what percentage of your team are ever in at one time and size your office appropriately. Large, empty offices have a similar negative impact on morale as overcrowded ones do.
The cost of powering your workspace is unlikely to go down anytime soon.
We’ve all felt the pinch, businesses and individuals alike. As a result, it’s time to reconsider energy requirements and whether we’re making the most of the green tech available.
Smart tech has developed to the point where real-time live data tracking can provide detailed insights into how your team is using the building, mapping power consumption across lighting, heating, air conditioning and more.
Automatic adjustment of these factors, be that turning the lights off when nobody’s in the room, or lowering the temperature when a meeting is finished, can have a dramatic impact on your monthly bills.
This may also factor into your choice on whether to downsize. Should you need any advice from our consultants on what the right route for you is, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
“We put our project out to tender and Rhino were one of three companies to pitch for this piece of work. We chose Rhino for their commitment to getting things right, and this was obvious from the very first meeting. We did of course prefer their design too.
We had worked with the project manager and his team in previous projects, so it was reassuring to know how this project would progress. Having a great working relationship with Rhino ensured progression during lockdown periods with a number of COVID restrictions in place and timescale challenges.
We’re grateful to the team for their commitment to this project and we’re very pleased with the results.”
– Jennifer Gilroy | Origen Financial Services.
With over 45 years of experience in workspace design, it’s our passion to create workspaces that meet your business needs, boosting productivity, attracting the best talent and improving communication across the board.
We have a strong track record of producing high-quality, perfectly optimised workspaces for businesses across finance and fintech. For bespoke advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team today.
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