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HOK Research Report: The New Financial Workplace


HOK’s WorkPlace group has released “The New Financial Workplace,” a report that investigates the fast-changing financial industry workplace.

“The New Financial Workplace” provides information on the unique threats and challenges facing the industry, with a special focus on how new technologies like cryptocurrency, biometrics and blockchain are disrupting the sector. In the near future, the rapid convergence of technology and financial services will force financial services companies, who are being challenged by emerging fintech companies, to adopt the cultures and workplace design practices of the technology industry.

financialreportcover2The report explores the “talent imperative”—the need for these financial companies to use their space to attract the best people and change their cultures to support the needs of tomorrow’s workers.

Also included are key takeaways from HOK’s recent global workplace survey of corporate real estate executives in the financial industry. The survey showed that 85 percent of participants have global workplace programs and 66 percent have formal distributed work programs for which they monitor and track space utilization. The survey also revealed that 84 percent lease space. With 90 percent of the respondents leveraging use of some form of free addressing, unassigned space is on the rise.

The financial sector has been at the forefront of the workplace evolution, perhaps only trailing the technology industry. As the nature of financial work continues to evolve, the workplace is adjusting along with it.

Among the trends highlighted in this new report:

  • A continued decline in square footage across the industry indicates that more financial firms have adopted progressive work styles and workplaces and are catching up with early adopters. 
  • Firms that had previously reduced their space are fairly stable and now looking for ways to enhance the employee experience and retain top talent. 
  • Office space has evolved from being the only place of work to one of many in an entire ecosystem of choices.
  • Firms are moving beyond open-plan offices and instead installing more flexible space. 
  • Neighborhood-based Choice Environments (NCE) provide neighborhoods for teams to operate out of while still giving people access to a variety of work settings. 
  • Financial companies will likely seek more M&A activities to expand their services, product offerings and expertise while leveraging their large customer bases.

pritzker640Though overall branch bank visits are declining as more people do their banking on mobile devices, the retail branch remains the channel with which customers report having the most positive experiences. They will endure as a cornerstone of banking, and the physical environments of these banks must advance to support the industry’s essential need to elevate the customer experience.

Case studies of workplace projects for leading financial services firms Scotiabank, TD, Nasdaq, Union Bank and Harris Bank provide insight into current best practices.

Download a PDF (2 MB) of “The New Financial Workplace” research report.

Related: “Building a High-Performance Defense Industry Workplace”

Learn more about HOK’s WorkPlace group.