König + Neurath support the bank with room concepts that fit.
Everybody is talking about the changes taking place in the world of work: “We must become more agile, creative and digital”, managers across all sectors agree. And even banks are seeing their role change. This calls for the willingness to launch new products and optimise business processes
For the individual corporate culture this means that structures need to be created where customer requests can be responded to faster and more flexibly – creating a working environment which produces new ideas. Frank Kauertz, head of Facility and Building Management at Helaba: “We are witnessing how an office’s feelgood factor impacts motivation and in future will take on a larger role for employees as a soft factor.”
Helaba leads by example. The officescape at its Offenbach site was previously defined by traditional single-user and double-user workstations. In a pilot which Helaba realised on a 1,900 m²-large floor, an open space solution was to be designed as a new working environment which was to give the new Credit Operations department even more – and faster – possibilities to communicate and coordinate. König + Neurath were commissioned to accompany this process and co-create this transformation with a focus on the needs of employees.
To support the change process with as much backing by the staff as possible, Helaba’s architects worked hand in hand with the planners from König + Neurath. During a workshop, fitting solutions for the requests and wishes from the company’s side were worked out together.
“We highlighted that there are many advantages to such a transformation, like new vertically-adjustable desks, or attractive lounge zones that promote a creative exchange, or THINK.TANKs that allow you to make a phone call in privacy or hold a meeting in peace,” says Frank Kauertz. All 95 workstations were equipped with the TALO.S lifting desk and integral Flyby screen and pedestals as well as pull-out sidefilers which offer both storage space and privacy. Helaba took the conscious decision to use desks that quickly adapt to the individual user’s standing height without the use of power: a plus in health and energy saving supported by the workstation. Furniture and THINK.TANKs were equipped with sound-absorbing elements and technology was installed externally to eliminate the largest factor contributing towards stress in an open space: noise. The result is astonishing. The open space office exudes a calm and enjoyable atmosphere.
As for the colour scheme, the bank focused on subdued hues. While the workstations come in cool, intellectual colours like grey and blue that promote concentration, the lounge chairs used in the communication zones or in the phone cubes from the NET.WORK.PLACE series form colour accents. The THINK.TANKs were also equipped with elements of this pro-communication furniture concept. The bank merely dispenses with desk sharing. “That is not our philosophy”, says Frank Kauertz, “because reality has shown that employees who are not given a dedicated workstation still end up working at the same table.”
Greater flexibility, improved use of space
The new working environment is defined by greater flexibility paired with an optimal space management. “We have maintained the strengths of our former office world”, says Frank Kauerts, “but optimised the spaces.” Multiple informal meeting points and lounge furniture propose dialogue and a feeling of ease. The THINK.TANKs provide space for meetings and phone calls made in privacy. The improved acoustics of the workstations allow their users to work while being seated or standing up. They are now the new standard for all workstations at the bank. The concept has been online since April. “The feedback that we are receiving is predominantly very positive”, underlines Frank Kauertz. Reason enough for the manager to convert all existing workstations in the mid- to long run everywhere the building’s structure permits a cost-efficient transformation.