How to upgrade your office space for modern clients

Traditional workspaces can be boring and turn off younger customers, who see the design as dated and old-fashioned. Credit unions that want to attract millennials and Gen Zers should upgrade their look and give them a reason to frequent the establishment.

Smaller financial institutions can create a customized experience for their customers. A few simple changes lead to a more welcoming, modern atmosphere for everyone.

Embrace technology

Around 43% of Gen Zers say brick-and-mortar banks still matter. While they see the importance of a physical branch they can go into, 72% say they use a neobank app as their main budgeting tool.

Credit union branch managers should remember Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a completely digital world. They can’t remember a time when there weren’t smartphones and instant access to information. They’re adept at using technology and expect digital conveniences.

To please the younger generation, leadership should add charging ports to any seating areas, adopt a digital-first approach to banking methods and create a seamless multichannel experience for users.

Change the interior design

When people walk into the bank, do they see a sea of neutrals and bland colors? Credit unions can quickly modernize an interior by designing a new color palette. A bright pop of blue commands attention without seeming frivolous.

Companies should also upgrade old, bulky furniture to sleek, modern options. Some styles stand the test of time. A skilled interior designer in their 20s or early 30s will understand what younger people like and can offer suggestions for swapping out old looks for new ones.

Fix the facade

Users may have a poor impression of the credit union just by driving past. The facade may look old, stained and outdated. A recent design trend for commercial buildings is adding dark colors to portions of the building. Light neutrals were common in the past, so something a bit different indicates a recent update.

Dark colors add drama and sophistication and bring dimension to a smaller building. Some credit unions add a darker color on the overhangs and keep lighter neutrals on the majority of the building. Alternating shades adds depth and character that can draw people into the building.

Add local art

Every generation appreciates art. Local art shows the establishment appreciates up-and-coming artists and is willing to showcase their work. The artist’s family and friends may come into the building to see the artwork on display. When they need a financial institution, they’ll remember the ones supporting local creators and be more likely to do business there.

Art adds bright pops of color and a unique quality to the building’s interior. Leadership can swap out pieces occasionally to change the look or celebrate a holiday.

Offer snacks and drinks

Millennials and Gen Z struggle to earn a livable wage, pay off student debt and enjoy life while they’re young. Perks can bring them into a credit union faster than any design change or exterior upgrade. Offering snacks and drinks is appreciated and appeals to all generations.

For example, some credit unions provide fresh-baked cookies on Fridays. Others might offer a popcorn machine in the lobby alongside a beverage cooler. Management adding snacks and drinks also allows the organization to showcase local bakers and small businesses by buying from them and sharing where the food came from.

Enhance curb appeal

Does the outside of the building look dated? Major changes may fall outside the scope of what management can do without board approval. However, adding curb appeal can be inexpensive. Workers can get credit union leadership on board by pointing out that it can raise a property’s value by 7% or more.

Some easy ways to make the exterior look fresh and inviting include adding bright pops of color with annual flowers, hanging wreaths and welcome signs on the door, and power washing dingy sidewalks and buildings.

Change the layout

For credit unions with a larger budget, changing the interior layout can make a huge difference in how modern the inside looks. Consider eliminating most of the closed-off office space and embracing an open concept.

Designers can add tech-friendly areas with charging ports, computers to link into accounts and other new features as they become available. Some financial institutions add a small coffee shop and work area for visitors, offering beverages at a discount to members.

Attract younger crowds

Upgrading an office space for modern clients requires understanding their preferences. At the same time, managers must consider their long-time clientele who might not care about pops of color or technical add-ons. When in doubt about what might best attract millennials and Gen Zers, survey current customers to find out what they might like to see. Small changes and time can help a member-owned financial institution attract additional audiences and grow.

Evelyn Long

Evelyn Long

Evelyn Long is a writer and the editor in chief of Renovated. Her work has been published by the National Association of REALTORS®, Training Journal and other online publications. Web: Details