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HypoVereinsbank invests in modern working environments: the 'Smart Working' pilot project

The banking business has changed drastically in recent years, as has the appearance of branches. New, modern sales channels have been developed. 'Smart Working' now aims to make offices more modern and inspiring as well. As office walls fall, so do the barriers. Communication becomes easier, and new technology creates space for flexible and creative working practices and mobility.

About 300 HypoVereinsbank employees will begin a new, up-to-date work experience in August. The Smart Working concept combines the 'non-territorial' approach - meaning employees no longer have assigned desks - with modern, communicative and high-efficiency working areas. Instead of having a permanent, standard desk, employees are now free to choose from several well-equipped working environments that are tailored to specific tasks. Ranging from high-concentration conceptual work in the 'Quiet Area', to 'Co-Working Zones' for working on projects together with several colleagues, to informal exchange in the "Business Lounge".

The new working environments are clearly structured and offer a wide range of settings - from working quietly alone through to communicative project work in groups. The office environment is rounded off by logistical areas and meeting areas. Laptops, WLAN and video conferencing equipment provide flexibility and mobility. At the same time, they save energy and reduce the emissions caused by commutes and business trips.

Higher quality work - lower costs
Although the new working environments are high-quality - although not luxurious - 'Smart Working' makes a significant contribution towards improved cost efficiency. Because the desks are no longer assigned to specific employees and, besides, employees are never all at work at the same time (appointments, holidays etc.), the amount of office space required is significantly reduced. This not only lowers real estate costs, but also reduces the amount of resources consumed, which actively helps to protect the environment.

'Smart Working' contains considerable immediate potential for cutting real estate costs and improving the quality of the working environment. It also provides additional indirect cost savings, for example by reducing the number of moves within an office. "We have been optimising our properties consistently for many years, cutting energy consumption and making banking at our branches more environmentally friendly and sustainable, while also cutting costs long-term.  'Smart Working' is the next - really big - step", says Heinz Laber, a member of the HypoVereinsbank Management Board and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at HVB Immobilien AG, which is lead-managing the project for the bank. As the Board member responsible for human resources, he adds: "We also see ourselves as entrepreneurs when it comes to these new forms of office work."

The pilot project at Tucherpark in Munich tests the suitability and acceptance of the 'Smart Working Environments' - also with a view to the new utilisation concept for the bank's Arabellapark high-rise office block. If 'Smart Working' is a success, it will be used in the 'Tower', too. The building's structure offers ideal conditions for the new working environments.

"We plan to use 'Smart Working' wherever it serves users' working requirements. It is a sensible alternative to merely concentrating usage into smaller spaces", notes Peter Weidenhöfer, Chairman of HVB Immobilien AG. "In order to be able to compare the two concepts, we are also creating a modern working environment based on conventional criteria, with assigned desks." This makes sense for departments that are unable to exploit the advantages of 'Smart Working', due to their standardised tasks and low periods of absence.

HVB Immobilien AG
HVB Immobilien AG is responsible for all tasks relating to the administration and marketing of HypoVereinsbank's properties and real estate. HVB Immobilien AG's Real Estate Competence Centre manages all of the properties used by the bank itself (and the Group) as well as the non-strategic properties, in other words those no (longer) used by group companies. It also manages properties that have come into HypoVereinsbank's possession due to restructuring and workout loans, and handles the management of selected properties owned by subsidiaries of UniCredit Bank AG.

This wholly-owned subsidiary of HypoVereinsbank specialises in services relating to the administration and marketing of properties owned by the HypoVereinsbank Group.

Hartmut Pfeifer
HypoVereinsbank Press Office
Tel.: +(89) 378 44959