Workplace Optimisation via Transformed Estate Use | EventMAP

In order to move towards the Government utilisation target and drive efficiency through increased occupancy, the client, a large public sector body, needed to initiate a process of estate optimisation. The organisation in question had scored poorly in previous surveys of estate utilisation and occupancy and needed to find a way to make significant improvements.
The client, as a whole, was undergoing a significant period of transformation to align a vast estate portfolio with its current and future operational requirements in an effective and efficient way. The resultant change planned to deliver improved performance and efficiency across their estate through greatly improved utilisation and improved collaborative working – as well as establishing a cultural change within the whole organisation towards its attitude to resource and asset usage and requirements.

Therefore, our task with their headquarters building was to accurately establish the true scale of inefficiencies, identify the potential scope of optimisation that was possible without impacting on operational abilities and, from there, deploy our workplace consultants to develop and manage the implementation of this the change and engagement programme. Identifying inefficiencies and developing optimisation has been a highly successful part of EventMAP’s service offering for many years, but in this case study we’ll be primarily examining the crucial role that our workplace consultants play in actually delivering large-scale changes in a highly effective way.

WHAT WE DID

Initially, EventMAP undertook a preliminary utilisation study within the headquarters to understand the actual occupation characteristics of the building. The study used our proprietary techniques and software tools. The results of this study identified that there was indeed an opportunity to better optimise occupation and, in fact, make sufficient space available within the building to make accommodation available for another occupier without impacting at all on the organisation’s current operations.

From here, we developed a strategic multi-occupancy proposal that would generate significant cost savings and provide income generation via a paying tenant. A second utilisation survey was conducted that further supported the proposition of optimisation to create space by releasing a number of the building’s floors for a new occupier. A full analysis of both utilisation assessments clearly showed the scope for greater efficiency within the building – with the help of a cultural change programme for the building occupiers to achieve a shared approach to accommodation use.

Following governmental approval, an implementation plan was developed to support the staff to work differently, including the implementation of the staff relocation and migration, which took place over a period of six months. At this point in the process, EventMAP’s workplace consultants took responsibility for delivering the moves and cultural changes required.

It is well recognised that successful change programmes feature high levels of engagement, communication and mutual understanding between those designing the change, those implementing the change and those affected by the change, so our workplace communication and engagement strategy for the programme was of huge importance.

OUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

It followed six core principles:

  • Complex messages require a stepped approach taking audiences through distinct ‘stages’ of communication.
  • Each audience has distinct needs and therefore merits its own communication plan.
  • Messaging should be oriented from the receiver’s viewpoint and not laden with technical or programme-based jargon.
  • Successful communication is measured in terms of the response of the audience rather than the volume of information sent.
  • A mix of wide scale communication (e.g. intranet, briefing notes, and drop-in sessions) and small scale engagements (e.g. interviews, workshops) should be used.
  • Established organisational communication channels should be used as much as possible in order to match the existing custom and practice of each audience.

This led the communication direction for the audiences whose working lives were about to be changed. To support the process, a variety of engagement methods and channels were agreed to move those affected by the changes through the different stages. Each of these explained the benefit of the building optimisation and how it applied to staff, what action staff needed to take and where to access advice and assistance.

OUR ENGAGEMENT APPROACH

Within the process, the key communication and engagement objectives were to create awareness and understanding of the optimisation programme amongst all stakeholders, inform everyone of relevant information relating to the new occupation schema and to keep stakeholders informed of the progress of programme.
The engagement approach was broken down into the following six areas:

Awareness

Encouraging and supporting managers to act as advocates and cascade information to staff, as well as raising awareness of outcomes and how they will support wider organisational objectives.

Understanding

Breaking the link in peoples’ minds between ‘me’, ‘my desk’ and ‘my space’ and increasing their focus on what they are doing and who they need to work with. Ensuring managers understand how the move will affect them and their teams and the benefits that this will bring – building a positive perception of optimisation within the organisation.

Conviction

Ensuring communication uses the most relevant and effective channels for the various audiences and that overarching communications are clear, consistent and relevant to each audience group.
Ensuring relevant managers are prepared for their team’s move and cascade what they need to do and by when – so they can minimise disruption for themselves, winning broad acceptance of the need to make these changes and their value of it. Ensuring those employees who are part of the move process know how the move will affect them and what their role is in it. Ensuring that employees and managers are aware of training available in any new processes or ways of working.

Protection and Management of Reputation

Managing expectations by providing timely, appropriate and tailored communications and engagement of employees involved in the move. Managing the organisation’s reputation internally and externally through use of consistent and proactive message management and stakeholder and media handling.

Change Network

To support the change and engagement of the building optimisation, EventMAP created a ‘Change Network’, nominated by senior organisational leaders. They played a key role within the project as a primary link between the formal project team and the operational teams. This role included such activities as: collating information for a ‘Business Movement Plan’ document; acting as a two-way ‘information channel’ between teams and the project team; supporting teams through the physical move; being ‘exemplars of change’ in workplace behaviours and facilitating the adoption of new workplace protocols; ensuring that collaborative working is driven by the physical workspace; ensuring their colleagues receive all communications materials and attend engagement sessions.

METRICS AND UNDERSTANDING

During the entire project, EventMAP continuously measured communication and engagement activities for effectiveness and areas of possible improvement. A comprehensive post-move survey was also undertaken to identify any outstanding issues and establish perceptions of the project success within stakeholders and staff.

OUTCOMES

In terms of the success of EventMAP’s optimisation programme for the organisation’s headquarters, ongoing annual savings of approximately £7m have been implemented without impact on operations. However, as with any large organisational reorganisation, measuring success purely in financial terms is pointless if the change process isn’t implemented in such a way as to develop complete ‘buy-in’ from everyone involved.This is where EventMAP’s experience, wealth of in-house expertise and knowledge of the workplace sector come to the fore in nurturing of a team approach by all involved and ensuring a successful project outcome.

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