Bank vacates Broad Street office for more home-working

ANOTHER of Jersey’s large finance companies has moved its staff to a hybrid work-at-home and shared-office-space model in what could signal a revolution in Island working life.

RBS International, which employs nearly 600 staff and is headquartered in Bath Street, claims the increasing use of remote working during the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated a change in office culture.

The move means that their large second-office premises in Broad Street has now been emptied and will not be reused by the bank.

Funds firm Hawksford is undertaking a similar change which will see its office floorspace cut by a third.

Richard Bolingbroke, RBSI’s managing director for international, retail and commercial banking, said the changes would be ‘permanent’.

‘Last year was, we hope, a one-off but I think certainly organisations, including ours, have learned a lot from it. One of the things that will change as a result is ways of working. We’re now starting to adapt to a new model within RBSI and that’s a model that is replicated across the wider part of the NatWest group in the UK,’ he said.

‘It will see us split three ways – those that are remote first i.e. predominantly working from home and perhaps coming in one or two days a month. Those that are primarily office first – so roles where you need to be in the office. Then there’s the hybrid that sit in the middle.

‘RBSI in Jersey will mostly be split between the hybrid model and the remote first, so we will see the majority of our colleagues coming in from anywhere from a couple of days a week up to two or three days a month.’

He added: ‘This has been accelerated absolutely by Covid-19. We recognise that fewer people will be coming into the office, so we need less space. Essentially we have two major premises in Jersey, one at Bath Street and the one at Broad Street, which we are now out of and don’t need anymore.’

Mr Bolingbroke said that the changes would also involve a large-scale refurbishment of the firm’s head office in Bath Street, due for completion in September, which will see employees having ‘shared space’ desks with the aim of developing an ‘agile’ more collaborative working style.

‘What we’re trying to work on with colleagues in the bank is the reason you come into the office – it is different to what you used to do.

‘We’re going through a big refurb of the office at the minute, ripping out all the stationary desks and the big rows of seating to now create a more open environment hub, where people can connect and network.

‘We’ll have whiteboards, smart boards and things like that which you can have discussions around. Zoom functionality will be built into meeting rooms. It’ll be more of a hub where people go to connect and co-create as opposed to sit down and spend all day typing things up.’

lA longer interview with Mr Bolingbroke will follow in JEP The Business.

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