The manager of an NHS Trust with two hospitals and a third under construction has described how it created enormous benefits by transforming its workspace with technology.
Terry Murphy, people and asset manager for the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, told the NHS Facilities and Estates Virtual Conference that the Trust got “a big bang for its buck” by investing in a technology-supported rethink.
Reorganising workspace has driven more cost-effective use of space, avoided expensive building work and brought benefits for staff and patients, he said.
“It’s not about the room that you are in any longer – it’s about what you are doing with your team,” Terry told the online conference, organised by Covenzis.
The trust has hospitals at Epsom and St Helier in London, manages community hospitals in Sutton, and is also working to create a new £500m specialist emergency care hospital.
Terry explained that the Trust needed to achieve key objectives including:
- Siting clinical services better for the convenience of patients
- Moving office spaces upstairs to make it easier for patients to negotiate the hospital
- Improving working practices, building around the many teams that need to work together in the hospital.
The Trust started with a study to gather evidence, and found there was definitely room for improvement.
“Our study found that some meeting rooms were being booked for two hours and used for one, while others had been booked for an hour a week on a repeat basis and weren’t being used at all,” said Terry.
This, and the use of single person spaces, meant staff often had to queue to find and book the space they needed.
The Trust, using Rendezvous Workspace meeting room booking software from NFS, designed and introduced changes including open plan working and better-managed and more flexible meeting rooms and spaces.
“We made absolutely certain that this was about people,” says Terry. “They are the ones who are driving this journey forward.”
The results have been impressive even to the Trust. By implementing a centralised space booking system, rethinking the layout and use of space, and giving staff better technology, they have:
- Reduced capital and property costs
- Created a better work environment
- Made more efficient use of meeting space
- Improved work-life balance and motivation
- Boosted productivity.
“The money we spent on repurposing space such as meeting rooms for clinical purposes, we used for refurbishing those rooms rather than having to build new, which is significantly cheaper.”
Staff can now book space through a central system via their mobile, and are now managed by their outputs rather than simply by their presence.
Challenge for leaders
Luis De Souza thanked Terry for providing an inspiring insight into the benefits that can be achieved by rethinking workspace, supported by technology.
“One of the biggest challenges organisations face now is how to repurpose space to improve utilisation, reduce costs, to deliver a better staff or clinical experience and to build community engagement,” he said.
“Terry’s explanation of how the Trust uses Rendezvous technology shows the benefits of using software for booking meeting rooms, among many other benefits.”
Many organisations are also seeing this time as an opportunity to generate revenue, for example with event space, Luis added.
“Start by understanding the current state of your space and how it is utilised today, and make meeting room booking software the foundational part of your strategy,” said Luis.
“Your plan must include the softer aspects – people, communication, partnerships, a holistic approach.
“It’s time to take courageous steps to repurpose your space – this is a journey and requires leadership.”
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