NAB nixes hotdesking in favour of app-bookable desks

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NAB nixes hotdesking in favour of app-bookable desks

Plots gradual return of 32,000 staff working remotely.

NAB is set to ditch hotdesking as it starts to invite staff back to its offices and will instead operate a model where “dedicated desks” can be booked via an app.

The bank’s chief people officer Susan Ferrier said in a LinkedIn post that NAB is preparing for the “gradual return” of its 32,000 staff that worked from home during pandemic-related lockdowns.

“The first phase will involve up to 20 percent of NAB employees returning to our buildings,” she said.

What the return will look like beyond that is unclear after an internal survey found most staff wanted to continue working flexibly.

“The overwhelming majority (80 percent) of those currently working from home indicated they want to continue to have the flexibility to work remotely in the future,” Ferrier said.

“The survey also found 45 percent of NAB colleagues working from home feel their productivity has increased, while 36 percent have remained the same.”

As lockdowns came into effect, NAB quickly spun up remote work systems, including a large ZScaler private access (ZPA) environment to get around capacity constraints with its existing corporate VPN.

It also put systems in place to enable contact centres to work remotely, and took on Workplace from Facebook to keep remote staff connected.

In addition, the bank is analysing Outlook metadata to understand how new patterns and practices of work have formed, and to keep tabs on possible signs of staff burnout.

Ferrier said the make-up of the “new normal” is now in planning.

“We do know that our workplace is going to look and feel quite different,” she said.

“We have already put in place a range of additional measures to ensure we do this safely, including on-site nurse stations, the installation of thermal cameras to measure body temperatures upon entry to NAB buildings and there will be no more hotdesking. Instead colleagues will be able to book dedicated desks via an app.

“At the heart of this new way of working is finding solutions that provide flexibility for our colleagues to work and collaborate in different ways, while providing banking services to our customers and the community.”

Even among the Big Four banks, NAB is not alone when it comes to a souring view on hotdesking.

CBA’s recently former chief technology officer Matt Pancino said late last week that he hoped one of the outcomes of COVID-19 would be the death of hotdesking.

Hotdesking - shared spaces in general - is considered incongruent with the federal government's safe workplace principles, and therefore likely to be on the chopping block for most organisations.

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