RBS: ergonomics best practice in bank branch design


As a large international banking and financial services company, the RBS Group has over 30 million customers it needs to satisfy – and a huge number of staff to care for. To help it do this, System Concepts advises on health, safety and accessibility, and on how ergonomics best practice can benefit the business.

“System Concepts are an integral part of our design team, adding value, common sense, and a statutory audit trail. This ensures that we create retail branch settings that are safe, enjoyable and inclusive for our customers, and great places to work for our staff.”
Jac Carrington-Fallow, RBS


Providing great customer experiences and interactions relies first and foremost on a company’s people. By enhancing staff wellbeing and comfort, a more satisfied, motivated and productive workforce results. Making this happen is part of our challenge in assisting the RBS Group.

What we did

Since 2004, our consultants have helped RBS to consider and manage numerous factors, including how ergonomics, health and safety, wellbeing and accessibility principles are built into workstation design, work processes and branch facilities.

Our expert team has worked on a range of projects:

  • Ergonomics, accessibility and risk assessments of wide ranging financial services sector equipment and technology.
  • Ergonomics and accessibility assessments of service related furniture.
  • Comparative manual handling assessments.
  • Supporting the development of a new secure counter.

Based on the International Standard BS EN ISO 9241 Part 210 Human-centred design process for interactive systems, our approach helps RBS ensure it provides usable and enjoyable customer experiences.


Our input has helped RBS Group to:

  • Improve branch design through its Future Bank project.
  • Enhance ways of working through the provision of suitable furniture and equipment.
  • Optimise the procurement process for furniture and equipment.
  • Meet legal obligations to customers and staff, including people with disabilities, thus minimising reputational risk.
  • Address issues of non-compliance or risk at an early stage, minimising costs.

The Future Bank project

The RBS ‘Future Bank’ project involved a major overhaul of branch design. Our consultants supported the project from development to installation:

  1. We worked closely with RBS on the initial and subsequent branch designs, helping it think radically about the whole process.
  2. We conducted a detailed risk assessment of customer and staff activities at a fully equipped mock-up site.
  3. We evaluated two pilot branch installations in the UK, using a variety of ergonomics and accessibility assessments techniques to evaluate the staff/customer experience.
  4. We conducted a post-implementation review.

By being involved from the beginning, we were able to make the design process more cost-effective and creative, addressing major issues early on.

Ergonomics assessment of Time Lock Pedestals

We’ve added value for RBS Group through many other projects. As one example, we conducted a comparative ergonomics risk analysis of existing time-lock pedestals. This work helped NatWest to determine potential suitability for use with newly installed counter. equipment.

We undertook desk-based research based on our retail banking experience, including:

  1. Detailed task analysis related to time-lock pedestals.
  2. Comprehensive, comparative risk assessment for alternative time-lock pedestals.
  3. Recommendations on the acceptability of the existing time-lock safe designs from a user experience perspective.

This project paved the way for NatWest to achieve cost savings and enhanced sustainability, through the recycling of existing equipment.


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