InTouch : A Virtual Winner

Moving offices can be worrying time for workers – but Westpac has come up with novel way to help calm moving-day jitters and familiarise staff with their pending new premises.
Over the next few months approximately 650 Westpac New Zealand staff will migrate from the Auckland suburbs of Onehunga, Penrose, Royal Oak and far-flung Manukau, into the new Westpac building in the CBD Britomart Precinct – huge exercise in human resources and change management.
To help with the transition, Westpac has taken hundreds of staff in small groups on virtual tour of the new space, led by comedian Mark Wright, playing the role of ‘Sparky’ the head electrician on the project. For the tour, Sparky issues safety vests and hard hats to all the participants, and whisks them into ‘black box’, where they experience the new building on whirlwind virtual tour projected onto screen – the lift doors – which open and shut onto each floor.
Each of the seven floors of the new building are themed, according to the different strata of the land, from the strong earthy hues of the tectonic plates to the blues of the deep sea and then the foreshore, over the dunes, through the forest and high country until they reach the mountains. The colour palettes are rich and vibrant and give each floor unique character. All staff know which floor they will inhabit in the new building.
“It will be an exciting time for existing and new staff to be with the bank. The new flagship building is an opportunity for Westpac to bring our people together in an environment that fosters teamwork and collaboration, and it’s important for staff to be fully informed about the move,” says Marianne Freser, Westpac’s head of recruitment and retention.
“The feedback from staff has been overwhelmingly positive,” she says. “The whole virtual tour concept was quite lot of work, but it’s definitely paid off. We want to retain our staff, and big move like this can be very unsettling, so we really wanted our staff to see and experience for themselves what the new building is like.”
The new building has been designed and built to achieve 4-star Green Star rating, with environmentally sustainable initiatives such as the use of natural lighting and daylight dimming of lights, small heating and cooling zones, and metering of all power and water loads. Westpac has used paints, glues and other building products with low harmful emission levels.

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