New ways of working


Activity based working is a collaborative process with an end result that will be determined by the input of Westmead staff. The Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) wants to create a welcoming workplace that enhances an integrated way of working, connecting healthcare to the community.

The way we work is changing significantly. Across the precinct we are working more collaboratively, we have access to new and improved technology, the way we deliver healthcare is changing and how we undertake research and further education continues to evolve.

The Westmead Redevelopment provides a unique opportunity to assess the way we work, our work spaces and the tools we use at work. We are seeing significant upgrades to work place ICT services and operational structures. We must ensure our workplaces remain flexible into the future.

With major changes occurring across the precinct as part of the Westmead Redevelopment, and with significant upgrades occurring to workplace ICT services and operational structures, now is a perfect opportunity to revisit the way we work.

The philosophy of new ways of working has been adopted by WSLHD. The Westmead Redevelopment will be one of the first areas to adopt activity based working.

Activity based working is not

There are many common misconceptions about activity based working.

It is NOT:

  • Hot-desking
  • A cost-saving exercise
  • Managers retaining their own individual areas
  • A pre-existing template or plan for how we will be made to work
  • Activity based working involves changing the physical spaces we work in.

More importantly, it’s about supporting the activities that we do through the physical space, supporting ICT tools, and changing behaviors to create the type of culture that can enable WSLHD to create a welcoming workplace that enhances an integrated way of working, connecting healthcare to the community.

The role of an activity based working PUG member

A project user group (PUG) member’s contribution to the activity based working process doesn't end at attending the workshop sessions. Here are some of the key things your PUG members will be doing on behalf of your department:

  • Represent the visions of your departments
  • Use everyone’s expertise
  • Break down the silo mentality
  • Be a listener – hear multiple views
  • Enhance current positives, not just create new issues
  • Overcome scepticism by engaging in the process
  • Challenge the model to ensure patient care
  • Take the best of what we do now
  • Be the educators to the rest of Westmead

As key participants in these sessions, they will also be communicating what's going on to everyone and providing updates following each session.

What is the role of project user groups (PUGs)?

The role of activity based working PUG members is not to design the physical layout of spaces. It is to influence the architect’s design of physical spaces based on the recommendations of how you will work in the future. It is through the discussions in the concept design workshops that your ways of working (now and in the future) are being articulated to inform the design.

As a part of these discussions we will cover:

  • Working with zoning the floors—asking you all for input around what zones should be created and where on the existing floorplates.
  • Asking you what the furniture and layout may look like to best support the activities you need to perform. For example, what does a focus booth look like for you? And why? What type of meeting rooms do you need? Does it need to be in a room?

What is the role of the architects?

The activity based working functional brief will be handed over to the architects HDR in June 2017 to start the design of the spaces. In quarter 3 of 2017 the architects will have virtual reality images of the new physical layouts. The architects continue to be involved and attend the concept design workshops as we prepare to hand over the concept designs for them to translate into detailed design in the coming months. It is important they hear the context of your discussions to inform how they design the spaces.

What’s happening next?

After the concept design workshops have been completed there will be a series of more deep dive sessions which will focus on specific needs of departments. These sessions will occur between now and June 2017.

Coming out of the workshops, the activities that will help us create further clarity include:

  • Conducting the remaining deep dives with departments/teams
  • Finalising our final deliverables to review through the Westmead Redevelopment’s governance structure (end May), which includes:
    • Change strategy that will include defining the behaviours of how the spaces can and cannot be used
    • physical functional brief for the architects, to begin detailed design

When will I start to see the detail?

By July 2017, we will know how the new spaces for the new central acute services building will look and function. During the detailed design phase, led by the architects, the concept will become more tangible and visible. You will see actual drawings of the activity based working spaces including using virtual reality technology to look around some of the rooms.


We have a number of factsheets, newsletters and other resources explaining activity based working on our resource page.

Westmead Hospital Refurbishment Program

Information about the refurbishment program underway at Westmead Hospital.


Read about Westmead Hospital's first activity based working space, O3Hub, which opened on 10 August 2017.

Want more information or have a question?

Please contact us if you have any questions about activity based working.

Staff during an activity based working meeting

Newsletters and fact sheets

thumbnail image of fact sheet cover

We have a range resources that outline activity based workiing for staff members.

Go to our resource page