Bristol University is undertaking an ambitious project on New Ways of Working. Read how we helped them to understand how the tech could enable their staff members use New Spaces, New Tools & Smarter Working.

Bristol University is really going places. It is a top 3 UK University with leading employers (according to the High Fliers list 2017), a top 5 UK University for research and is ranked in the top 50 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings. They have a large number of buildings in the city with multiple locations housing academic staff, professional services staff, teaching spaces and student accommodation. A second campus is also being planned, which will be developed at a newly acquired site next to the Temple Meads train station.

The review

A review of the Universities plans for “New Ways of Working” was commissioned by Pete Walker (Head of Support, IT Services) to us. Hable went to meet staff and learn about this ambitious project. They are thinking about three big topics: “New Spaces, New Tools & Smarter Working”. Hable have helped other organisations with similar projects, so we were commissioned to deliver an Orientation session to around 350 Bristol staff during November and December – all of whom were issued with a new laptop and are moving into a new office in Augustine’s Courtyard in early 2018.

Bringing people with you from the start

The idea is simple but efficient. Rather than just collecting a new laptop from IT and going off to learn how to use it on your own – all Bristol staff came to a Hable workshop for 2 hours to collect their brand new device (a very smart Dell Latitude 7280). Everyone loves receiving new tech, but they don’t feel the same about learning the technology.

They then had a workshop about the New Ways of Working project, and some hands-on training workshop covering Windows 10, OneDrive & some basics about Skype for Business. This is part of what we do, our getting Started with Office 365 gets people feeling comfortable using “the cloud”, first time users learn how to log-in and set up the technology on their mobile devices. People left the workshop having got acquainted with their new laptop and feeling confident with it – plus having had the opportunity to workshop with colleagues on the idea of “Smarter Working”.

Changing mindsets

For many people the idea of losing their fixed desk and their desktop PC can be daunting – but once they get into their new office and see the benefits of a more open working environment, new meeting rooms and new flexible social spaces – those fears usually pass quickly. Moving offices gives you a lot to think about – and so having to learn technology at the same time as you move in can cause additional and unnecessary stress. So, Bristol got the training done a month or more before the physical desk move, giving people some time to get used to the new tools and think about how best to make use of the new spaces once the move happens in the new year.

The impact

Sarah Mann, Hable’s consultant shares how interacting with staff from all disciplines means that you get lively, interesting sessions. “While the laptops are setting up, we take time to talk about the benefits and challenges of New Ways of Working, sharing feedback on the Surface Hubs (thereby also learning to use that technology along the way)”.

It’s a great opportunity to meet people from across the University, some of whom you may find yourself sitting next to in one of the collaboration zones in the newly purposed and refurbished spaces

Both the spaces and the technology lend themselves to a much more collaborative approach, and lead to ideas and solutions being more readily shared and we show people the best way to do this, using the tools available in Office 365 to support this.

The best thing about running these sessions is seeing people a month or so later, working in these new spaces, using their laptops confidently in ad hoc meetings over a coffee and seeing them reaping the benefits of this joined up approach to staff development and a technology project. People first, the tech after!

Get in touch

Experience has taught us to learn about your people first and talk about technology second. We know how to imagine, plan and deliver your organisation’s future, offering plain English advice and expert consultancy on cloud deployments and the adoption of new technology in Education, Corporates & Charities. Get in touch now to understand how to change your organisational culture with new ways of working.

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