Chinese banks use innovative office design to enhance corporate image

Domestic players view office design and use as key to boosting brand, performance

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 March, 2015, 6:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 March, 2015, 6:00am

Mainland Chinese banks are embracing innovative office spaces and working practices, according to a survey on the sector's future workspace strategy.

The survey, conducted by property consultant DTZ, said mainland Chinese banks were more likely than overseas players to leverage innovative office design and use of space to enhance corporate image and brand recognition. This is seen as key to building market share and competing with established international brands.

"It suggested that overseas banks in China are more comfortable with their well-established corporate brands while many domestic banks are still at the stage of corporate brand building," said DTZ in the report.

DTZ surveyed a group of foreign banks with operations in mainland China and a number of domestic banks. The total number of banks interviewed was 28.

The survey asked respondents about the evolving design and use of office space, adoption of alternative workplace strategy and deployment of technology among other important issues relating to front and back-office environments.

Domestic banks are embracing new fit-out concepts such as "neighbourhood areas" - including self-sufficient/self-contained work areas and think tank/break-out spaces - in the workplace.

This form of innovative workplace strategy should enhance future productivity and employee satisfaction, said DTZ.

However, international banks place more emphasis than their domestic peers on front-office employee well-being, reflecting their need to attract and retain high-calibre personnel.

All banks remain focused on increasing profitability. Cutting costs, increasing space efficiency and raising productivity were cited as the most important factors driving workplace strategy.

"This reflects the high leasing costs of front-office space in prime submarkets and rapidly rising labour costs," DTZ said in the report.

The majority of domestic and all overseas banks recognised the need to develop environmentally sustainable office spaces.