How finance firms are pioneering break-out workspace

June 5, 2018 Sanjana Saluja

As financial firms battle against tech firms to attract highly skilled digital employees, workplace design can make a huge difference. JLL Real Views explores how they’re getting it right.

The Société Générale Bank operates one of its biggest offices not in the central business district of Paris, but in the city’s more laidback east. Instead of glass towers like the financial clusters of La Defense, the offices, dubbed The Dunes, are set in a horizontal campus bisected by a walking street of eateries, shops and games. Employees may work at hot desks, booths, cafes or quiet pods, with few closed offices and half the total space dedicated to collaborative working.

“What Société Générale has done is really emblematic of what’s happening in the banking industry,” says Flore Pradère, Director in the Global Corporate Solutions Research team. “There is a trend towards breaking down the hierarchical organization and adapting to a more agile, flexible work environment with spaces beyond the desk.”

The secondary workspace might be an in-office sports bar, a themed meeting room, or swings, as in accountancy firm PKF Cooper Parry’s Birmingham headquarters. Along with a shift towards a more flexible way to work, 40 percent of financial services employees also work in companies with access to coworking or incubator areas for startups in a related field. The Dunes dedicates 1000 square meters for coworking, while banks in Australia and Asia are embracing coworking spaces in their offices and at external providers such as WeWork.

Click here to find out how financial firms are rethinking office space to attract a new generation of employees.

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