You may remember from our previous post that the University of London are going through some major changes, with an ambitious activity-based-working initiative called Programme Beveridge.
In effect, staff have moved from a traditional office style of working – sitting at their own desks with their own landlines, in small team offices – towards a new model of more mobile, flexible working and a large new open-plan office space, which houses many different teams.
The staff have been given a Surface Pro and a Skype headset, and Hable delivered a series of training sessions at the end of last year in preparation for the transition.
There were also to be new fully kitted-out meeting rooms with Surface Hubs, Microsoft’s new multi-touch collaboration device with pen and touch input, a huge screen and inbuilt cameras and mics for group Skype meetings.
Having been through six months of preparation during which we encouraged the staff to familiarise themselves with the new tech and workflow, the new open plan space was officially opened on Monday 5th June. We like to see a job through from start to finish so #teamhable headed to London for three days of floorwalking that week, to make sure people had a soft landing in their new environment and to answer any questions they might have about the new way of working.
I recently caught up with Petra Dodd, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at UoL, to get her impressions and to talk about how Programme Beveridge has gone:
‘It was good to have positive people from Hable around, talking to our staff about how the tech could help them. And it was great that Hable were able to be flexible during the floor walking, reacting to any problems people were experiencing after the office move.’ We had completed a set of things we needed to cover with all UoL staff during the three days, so in the afternoons we were able to refocus and offer some ad-hoc drop-in training sessions on OneNote and using the Surface Hub in the meeting rooms.
As to the move to having no fixed desk and phones, I asked Petra how are people adapting to this so far. ‘Most people are finding it ok – some people who were not liking the idea have been more positive than we thought. And the opposite; some people who were keen have found it more challenging. There have been a few teething problems with the tech – which I guess is to be expected and it’s proven a little tricky for some getting used to using Skype [for Business] as their main work phone. This is a big change to people’s way of working, so it was never going to be easy.’
With relatively radical change there will always be concerns and hesitancy, as Katherine Hockley, Digital Content Designer at UoL details in her recent blogs, and this is why we think proper preparation is key, so people are on board and ready for the changes.
So are UoL glad that they as an institution have switched? ‘Clearly I’m biased,’ (Petra was instrumental in executing the change programme in her role as Head of Learning and Organisational Development) ‘but it’s really helped in terms of different people talking – people who are in different teams or different departments are now speaking more, sitting next to each other and asking each other questions.’
This was one of Hable’s biggest projects recently, which we began last summer and have been working on throughout the year. We’ve written bespoke training modules, delivered them to over 300 people, written comms material, designed posters and finished it all off with a week of floor walking to help the UoL people have a soft landing in their new office.
We wish everyone at UoL good luck with their new office arrangements and are proud to have been a part of Programme Beveridge.
To find out more about this and other projects please get in touch.