Accommodation and IT – Steve’s Story

Project Manager Steve Rowland managed the accommodation and ICT approach for the first floor of the annexe which has brought new devices and a new working environment to the teams working there.

I think we’re all aware of the changes that are happening which are driving the need to both create more space in our offices, and to make it easier for people to work from a wider range of locations. This project has shown that we as an organisation – and as individuals –are able to work in a more flexible and efficient way.

I know without a doubt that the success of the project can be attributed to the fact that we had a team of people involved who were to be directly affected by the changes every step of the way. There was a ‘circle of communication’ as it were, where ideas were generated by a Staff Focus Group (SFG), fed back to colleagues, and any thoughts or ideas coming back then influenced developments for either further consultation or action.

Building on my previous project management experience from working in the public sector, I made it a priority to get staff involved from an early stage – the Staff Focus Groups were essential in achieving this.

It wasn’t all plain sailing; some people were concerned about the changes. The SFG had a role to address these concerns and ensure that key points were discussed and communicated back to staff accordingly. There was a good representation from all teams across the floor involving different job roles and different grades and this led to an engaged group with good knowledge of each teams requirements.

Some familiar space-maximising strategies were used – using different desking and replacing pedestal drawers with lockers. As a result of consulting with the SFG we developed an idea to create ‘soft zones’ for each team, meaning that team members can hot desk within their own soft zone areas as a first priority. Staff felt strongly about having an identity for their teams. The soft zones were set up within an overarching principle that staff can sit at any desk on the floor.

Also, by creating more space, it meant that more teams could move up to the first floor, and work more closely – physically – with their colleagues.

More meeting rooms were also created by moving some senior managers out of their offices and into the main desk area. – The meeting rooms now have larger monitor screens which link up with our mobile devices very simply – just using one cable from your laptop to the screen. This allows us to use video conferencing for our meetings..

The other side of the project was IT.–

It was good timing that Devon was looking at a pilot for Windows 10 and new laptop and tablet devices and we became the first teams to pilot these. Pilot groups looked at the number and type of devices we might need and then staff were given a choice from devices which were identified as fitting their job role. Now all staff have a laptop or tablet – meaning that we are all completely mobile. Each desk on the floor has a USB docking station with a monitor, keyboard and mouse as standard.

People have a mixture of devices – Management Information have robust laptops and there are lighter laptops for people who are travelling around.

It’s been a huge shift for staff – not only in the physical appearance of the space, but also in the way we can now work more flexibly.

Initial feedback from staff has been positive. The new working environment and the new mobile devices have allowed staff to consider working more effectively.

Formal evaluation is going to come soon where we look at the whole picture so I’ll be really interested to see what the outcomes will be.

Leave a Comment