Story of Sustainability
National Australia Bank
When I hear the term sustainability, I immediately think of ecologically sustainable design (ESD). ESD is widely described as the ability to meet the needs of today without foreclosing the achievement of tomorrows. Working in the building/property services industry, and having a passion for building efficiency and sustainability, means I am surrounded by innovation and the first hand effects of this growing corporate consciousness. Of course for a business as a whole to be environmentally sustainable, it needs to do more than tenant a ‘green’ building, or use sustainable waste disposal practices. It needs to create a culture in which ...view middle of the document...
Having now gained an insight to the strategic direction beyond the glossy brochures has changed my preconceptions and also shown how a sustainable attitude can be a financial and social positive. In my opinion this business is in the early stages of phase 5.
National Australia Bank’s business goal is to ‘Deliver sustainable, satisfactory returns to over 500,000 shareholders’ (NAB 2015). The corporate responsibility section of their website expands on this with a number of triple bottom line initiatives, most strongly marketed is their involvement in the community through not for profit sponsorship and internally run initiatives such as employer paid community volunteering. The benefit to stakeholders is twofold, both providing the employee with a sense of community involvement and personal satisfaction, and the community perception of the bank as having a true social conscience.
Internally their HR system is guided by ‘principals’ rather than ‘policies’, an interesting distinction when implementing adaptive change. The flexible working principles outline some basic parameters to allow a manager, team, and individual employees tailor a working arrangement that suits that particular person or group. This principal is not based purely on how many hours are spent in the office but also working while in the office with flexible desk arrangements that allow teams or groups to move around the office promoting collaborative engagement when working with peers. The below table from NAB offers some examples of lifestyle goals and how a working arrangements can be adapted to suit.
Environmentally the business occupies two types of functional space, the first being the stores (nee branches) used as a shop front for face-to-face customer service, and the head offices in each state, used for back of house corporate and customer functions. The stores have recently evolved beyond the traditional bank branch as internet banking can perform the vast majority of functions from everyday account management and bill payment, to loan and card applications. Corporate employees also have the ability to work from the stores increasing flexibility and allowing managers to engage with work groups more directly without foregoing the convenience of working form head office.
The corporate business occupies some interesting spaces in each capital of Australia, most notable the 700 Bourke St in the docklands of Melbourne. When considering ecological sustainability the building embodies a number of previously noted attributes, being situated a few minute’s walk from Southern Cross Station, the design of the office space is based on the theory of activity based working where the number of desks is significantly fewer than the staff based on the building. Activity Based Working (ABW) is based on the strategy of being in the right space to complete a certain task, rather than hot-desking which is based purely on the statistic that space utilization in fixed desk offices is...