Inside CommBank's activity-based workplace

 

Staff go mobile with MacBook Airs, Pros and high-end Dell laptops.

View larger image View larger image View larger image

See all pictures here »

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia will deploy more than 6200 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Dell laptops as it moves into its new “activity-based workplace” in Sydney’s CBD.

Some 2000 staff have moved into Commonwealth Bank Place since June with the remaining staff to move by February next year.

In accordance with advice to staff in May, the bank today unveiled a 56,000-square-metre space with docking stations and lockers instead of traditional desks and offices.

The bank leased the six-star Green building in September 2008 and decided to adopt an activity-based layout after learning of similar deployments in the Netherlands.

A majority of Commonwealth Bank Place staff were issued with 11-inch MacBook Air laptops, configured by integrator HP to boot directly into the bank’s Windows XP standard operating environment.

Power-users, including developers, would receive either MacBook Pro or Dell laptops, with the latter chosen because newer MacBook Pros no longer supported Windows XP.

The bank used Dell desktop computers in its other offices, including at its headquarters in Sydney’s Martin Place.

General manager of product management Grant Bowden said the MacBook Airs were “competitively priced” with Dell hardware, both supplied by HP.

The bank had also considered desktop virtualisation but decided that issuing laptops would be more cost efficient, given the systems it had in place, he said.

“That doesn’t mean that we’d rule something like that out in future,” Bowden noted, adding that the bank would also “look at” its Martin Place layout and Windows XP, which would no longer be supported by Microsoft from April 2014.

The bank's property, IT and change management staff worked with HP, Apple, Telstra and Cisco on the deployment, which involved some 300 wireless access points across two, eight-storey buildings.

Each floor was divided into “home zones” and “plazas”, with the former housing individual and team lockers, and quiet spaces where staff tended to work independently.

Plaza areas were targeted at collaborative work and featured café-style settings, more private meeting pods, and desks with LCD “smart boards” for presentations.

Following an internal survey that found an average of only 45 percent of desks to be occupied at any given time, Commonwealth Bank Place had docking stations for only 80 percent of its workers.

Each docking station featured a 24-inch LCD screen, mouse, keyboard and network access. Instead of desk phones, staff used Microsoft Lync softphones through DECT wireless headsets.

Team managers were invited to opt in or out of the move, with technology and retail banking executives Michael Harte and Ross McEwan “queue jumping” to become early adaptors.

“I wasn’t supposed to move until late October; I moved in two months ago,” chief information officer Harte said.

Those who decided to opt in were invited to tour Macquarie Bank, which introduced activity-based working in its Darling Park facility in 2009.

Commonwealth Bank chief financial officer David Craig said it had introduced “home zones” to give teams the sense of having a home base, following feedback from Macquarie Bank.

“We learned a lot from Macquarie; Macquarie were really helpful to us,” he said.

ANZ Wealth and Suncorp have also moved towards more flexible workplace layouts in efforts to lower real estate costs and facilitate modern working habits.

According to Suncorp’s executive general manager of enterprise services Paul Cameron, desks cost about $10,000 a year.

Craig expected a bulk of the Commonwealth Bank’s real estate savings to come from how the flexible layout allowed teams to scale up and down without moving any hardware around.

Commonwealth Bank Place would house enterprise services, wealth management, CommSec’s equity margin lending, and financial services’ group audit, security and corporate services teams.

Craig said the bank would monitor any productivity changes to come from the move, although productivity gains were not included in its business case for activity-based working.

He described the new workplace as a cultural journey that replaced the traditional managerial emphasis on control and attendance with a focus on trust and output.

Harte expected Commonwealth Bank Place to help the bank attract younger staff, who tended not to view bank jobs as particularly attractive IT career opportunities.

“We find it difficult, particularly in IT to attract a young, vibrant workforce directly out of university,” he noted.

“But once they see that we’re working on some of the largest projects and have got work environments that enable them to have not only mobility but also a fresh way of working, they’re immediately attracted.

“They don’t assume that the best IT opportunity is at Google. They’ve seen how the Google people work, and then they come in here and look at this. We become a wonderful brand for new, exciting workers.”

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest articles on BIT Latest Articles from BIT
Another phone with Telstra's Blue Tick: The Samsung Galaxy S5
Apr 8, 2014
Samsung's latest flagship phone joins Telstra's list of recommended handsets for customers in ...
Run an online shop? This might be worth bookmarking
Mar 28, 2014
Things like Australian safety standards are probably the last thing on your mind, but just ...
Vodafone switches on 4G in Tasmania: list of locations
Mar 28, 2014
See a list of locations in Tasmania that now have access to 4G via Vodafone's network.
Samsung Galaxy S5 on sale from Telstra next month for $912
Mar 27, 2014
It's not cheap, but if you are looking to upgrade your phone then the Samsung Galaxy S5 could be ...
What Australian workplaces actually rely on tablet computers?
Mar 14, 2014
If you're curious about where tablets are being used at work, here are three examples.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1455

Vote