Activity-based working provides staff with the freedom and flexibility to choose a space and facilities that best suit the task they are working on. Activity-based hubs include a variety of spaces, including quiet spaces for high-focused work, technology-enabled rooms for video and teleconferencing, formal collaboration spaces for small and large meetings and private spaces for confidential discussions.
Informal spaces such as break-out zones for relaxing and recharging, and a kitchen area and chat booths for socialising also support staff health and wellbeing. Ultimately, activity-based working is about giving all staff access to facilities that enable them to achieve their best in their roles.
This new approach is about a shift in mindset; a transformation in the way we view our workplace culture, the way we interact with our colleagues and the way we interact with our patients. Our workforce of today and tomorrow don’t work in offices. Classrooms have changed, and primary and secondary schooling is already designed around activities, not a set desk in a set classroom.
WSLHD is renowned for collaborative working and innovation. ABW will take that innovation to a new level by providing opportunities for flexible working and better collaboration across disciplines and among staff. Our workforce of tomorrow will be even more focused on their workplace experience, the quality of the patient experience and the quality of research and education outcomes.
We recognise this mindset shift is significant and we will work across all levels of the organisation to manage the change over the coming years. Be assured that when and where you need to perform an activity, an appropriate space will be available for it.
ABW enables employees to collaborate through a variety of different settings – either in person or virtually – and is designed to better match the way we need to work (and in many cases, the way we already work).
Even in our current office arrangements, managers typically don’t oversee the work of their teams through line of sight – they trust their people and check in with them on a regular basis to ensure things are tracking as planned and offer support as needed. While the way teams do this today may not be exactly the same in the new work space, a number of technology tools are provided to keep colleagues connected.
It’s up to individuals, teams and managers to agree on the communication channel and frequency. Ultimately, all that should matter is that an employee is delivering – and exceeding – their agreed objectives.
ABW is not hot-desking. It is a more flexible, specially tailored workspace that provides staff with places that suit their needs.
With hot-desking or cubicles, you own the desk. With ABW, all staff should feel ownership over all workspaces and be free to use any specially designed area in the building – such as technology enabled tea-rooms or meeting rooms.
One of the key benefits is for staff currently in open desk arrangements – they will now have access to areas designed for intensive or confidential work. Organisations that have failed to implement ABW have not understood that it is so much more than work space – it is also the culture and management approach, and the technology.
It is true that this approach sometimes costs less in terms of capital budget required. However, the cost reductions in capital, along with the increased benefits for staff far outweigh any argument for not changing. ABW means staff get to work in new, invigorating environments that are designed for the work that is being undertaken. Our workspaces become a tool for collaboration and knowledge creation, as well as getting spaces designed for private or quiet work.
The more efficiently we can design and use our workspaces, the more additional investment can be made into clinical areas and models of care, leading collaboration facilities and staff and social spaces.