Helping Nationwide improve branch design

Health and safety | March 2016

Nationwide is a large uk building society with a substantial high street retail presence. The organisation ensures that ergonomics, health and safety, wellbeing and accessibility principles are built into its branch design and work processes. By doing this, it aims to provide its customers with excellent service, and its staff with a great place to work.

“System Concepts are an important asset to our design team, adding strategic insight, technical expertise, common sense, and a statutory audit trail. Their iterative approach ensures that we have considered all aspects of staff and customer welfare and access during design and development, to create retail branch settings that are safe, enjoyable and inclusive for our customers, and great places to work for our staff.”
Design Manager, Nationwide

Challenges

Nationwide was undertaking a ‘future branch’ project that involved a major overhaul of its retail premises. Our ergonomics and accessibility consultants supported the project from development to installation, ensuring that the anticipated branch design enhancements were realised.

What we did

Our experts examined Nationwide’s draft branch design plans, working closely with its designers to address issues and hone designs. We helped assess the appropriateness of different designs, conducting focus groups with consumers, and our insights encouraged Nationwide to think radically about the look and feel of its branch network.

Part of our role was conducting a detailed risk assessment of customer and staff activities, at a fully equipped mock-up site. We used customer and staff feedback to examine customer journeys, and added expert ergonomics observations and postural analysis of staff tasks, using anthropometric measurements.

In order to fully evaluate the staff/customer experience and the overall usability of the new branch design, we evaluated two pilot branch installations, utilising a wide range of ergonomics and accessibility techniques. These included staff and customer questionnaires and interviews, direct observation, workspace and environmental measurements, and workstation assessments.

Benefits

  • Staff and customer welfare, and accessibility needs, built-in to the design process
  • Reduced staff and corporate exposure to the risks of musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Enhanced corporate reputation, including meeting legal obligations.
  • Optimised equipment and furniture procurement, with robust justifications for choices.

Using our ergonomics and accessibility expertise from the outset made Nationwide’s branch design process more cost-effective: major concerns were identified and addressed early on, and legislative compliance was assured. Our early involvement also promoted more flexible and creative problem-solving, which is not always possible when assessing a finished product.

Read how we added value to Nationwide’s Workplace Adjustments Service, providing wellbeing and other expert employee support.

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