How COVID-19 is impacting bank branch design and function for years to come
- The pandemic has been good for digital banking but it's also having an effect on bank branch design.
- The size, design, and materials of the bank branch of the future will incorporate social distancing and wellness.
It’s not just digital banking that is impacted by the current pandemic. As the industry thinks about banking after COVID-19, the bank branch is also being reconsidered from a public health perspective. From architecture that incorporates social distancing to the purpose of physical locations, the bank branch may never look the same.
Helping customers navigate through a bank branch is taking on new importance in the age of social distancing. In addition to well-planned interior design, wayfinding is top of mind, as banks consider optimizing the speed at which customers move through their locations. Wayfinding can include design factors as well as signage to guide customers to where they need to go within a branch. “Literally, from arrows on the floor to signage, you have to work with wayfinding to get people in a space to circulate, whether it’s to a teller or a salesperson within the bank branch,” said Scott Spector, a principal at architecture and interior design firm, Spectorgroup. About half of the 40 clients his firm is working with right now are in financial services.
To handle customers and employees fearful of social interaction, banks will need to educate their workforces and their customers before they walk in the door to make them comfortable to move around and interact. Some banks responded with knee jerk, short term design changes that include built-in signage and plexiglass panels. “It’s like you’re walking into a 7-Eleven. Those things just don’t maintain durability,” Spector said.
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