In May 2018, ANZ signed on the dotted line to lease five floors of Kiwi Property's award-winning office development at Sylvia Park in Mt Wellington, Auckland. Known to the bank as ANZ Raranga, the new workspace will accommodate nearly 1,000 people across 6,740 sqm of space.
Nearly eighteen months later, Matthew Clark, Head of Workplace Property NZ at ANZ, took time out of his busy schedule of moving people into the building to sit down with Love Your Workspace to explain how workspace design is key to ANZ Raranga - and to the bank’s future:
Let’s start at the beginning. Please tell us about the space:
The bank has taken a nine-year lease over five whole floors and a partial floor of the new office building at Sylvia Park – part of level four and then all of levels five to nine. We commenced occupation of levels 8-9 in May this year, and we are now progressively moving staff into the building.
We are merging three locations into one: operations teams from Carlton Gore Road have already moved in mid-May. We also had an office in Highbrook, which was used by our Commercial and Agri business that service the South Auckland region. We saw the benefit of connecting this front-line team into our wider business, and also to the branch on site at Sylvia Park, so we moved them over at the same time as our Carlton Gore Road teams.
We’re now working on moving our Contact Centre. It’s currently in Penrose, so we will progressively move 450-500 people in early November. As you might imagine, it’s a logistical challenge to move a large contact centre whilst not impacting the service to our customers.
What drew ANZ to Sylvia Park as a location?
When we started discussing our Auckland property strategy a couple of years ago, we wanted to look at the demographics of our staff and where they live. A large percentage of our contact centre staff come from South Auckland, all making the commute to the CBD fringe every day. It therefore made great sense from a staff point of view for our site not to be in the centre of the city, but to be closer to where our staff live, yet have all the amenities of a Grade A office.
Ultimately, the model we are trying to run is two core offices in different locations in Auckland, with our people working flexibly across both of them. We are also looking to use the existing footprint of our retail network to expand our satellite office network for staff, to decouple them from having to come into the CBD, enabling staff to choose their working location and provide them choice and flexibility to manage their work and home life. Staff can theoretically work from anywhere, although teams still have their neighbourhoods based in buildings.
The other reason we liked Sylvia Park is the level of amenity here. The building is perfect; it offers so much more than just an office. It has all the things to make our people’s lives easier: parking, amenities, shops, pharmacy, day care, gym; all the things time-poor staff need every day. It was really appealing for us.
What is the significance of the name to ANZ?
Raranga is the Maori word for the art of weaving, more particularly the weaving of Kete, or baskets. It is a symbol of unity and togetherness and encapsulates our vision of being more connected across ANZ’s offices and working more collaboratively together: an interwoven community working together to deliver for our customers, a great metaphor for us.
How does raranga inform the workplace culture and style you are working to create?
Our property vision reflects the change we want to make – to create a connected space for our people to be proud of. For so many years, these people had been tucked away in less than desirable buildings, and we needed to upgrade our premises to reflect the importance we put on our people.
There are also huge benefits in putting our teams together. We know that our Contact Centre is a powerful conduit to the rest of our business and acts as a recruitment pathway. Our staff often come into the business via working at the Contact Centre, and then move on into the bank to go on and do great things. It is a great breeding ground for talent, so it is important for us to have these people together, to encourage this pipeline for talent.
Our workplace strategy is to provide a flexible fitout that is less corporate, a home away from home that celebrates our team’s achievements every day.
How are the spaces are set up to enable this style of working?
Firstly, we’re trying to blend the traditional front-of-house versus back-of-house concept. We’re proud of our people and what we do, so why hide them away? Therefore, we put the welcome floor and the contact centre on level 7, separated by glass walls so you can see our people engaging with customers, celebrating what they do. This is different to a normal office, where the customers are often insulated from what we do in the engine room.
The other concept we have put in place is a flexible fitout, called Playbox. Seven or eight years ago ANZ created this concept, which is essentially a flexible, furniture-based fitout conceived by in-depth engagement with our teams to really understand how they work. It has evolved over the years and for the Raranga fitout we have a raised floor throughout the building so every space can be reconfigured quickly to suit the changing needs of our business.
This means that as our business changes we can manipulate the fitout to suit our people. For example, we can de-mount a meeting room overnight and replace it with people working in different ways, ensuring we future-proof the fitout and adapt quickly. Property can be notoriously slow to respond given traditional long-term leases and built structure, so introducing furniture-based fitouts allows us to adapt with the business and better service their needs.
It’s all about adapting quickly: that’s the question. Some of our teams work Agile, and these days you have to have a flexible fitout that is changeable as the business changes.
How are the moves going into the building?
I’m very fortunate to have a great team that understands the complexity of moving people, and it’s all going without a hitch.
The behavioural change is the biggest thing about the move. People adopt a lot of accumulated behaviours by being in a place for so long. Moving creates an opportunity to cleanse, to start anew, and we wanted to push that with all teams, asking them to think about how they work, rather than adopting the same behaviours.
For example, our contact centre teams have morning stand-ups; they all come together with a whiteboard to write up their targets for the day. We have done away with whiteboards, so it is all digital now. Agile digital boards and mobile screens enable us to conference-in remote working staff. We’re now working to get flexible working going for our Contact Centre, getting our Remote Workers connecting in from home for the stand-up, and the teams are coming together virtually. This means we are already weaving in people from around Auckland into teams so they are connected.
What have you learned through the process so far?
The big learning through the process has been to dedicate a large amount of time to value all staff views and emotions through the process. Change affects people in different ways. I never assume it will be a straightforward process for every person. We’ve learned to take the time to listen at the front end of the process, and on the back end we need to make sure we’re empathetic with people when they move into a new environment. Change can be confronting, so we take the time to understand and be there for people.
It’s all about our people at the end of the day. We listened to what our people wanted. This move and strategy has come from our people, and the outcome is directly driven by our people.
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