Government Property 2023: Hybrid and hubs panel
Matrix Booking had the pleasure of running another hybrid and hubs panel discussion at the Government Property 23 event run by Public Sector Connect. The event has been running for 20 years and brings together professionals from across the Government and the wider public sector to:
showcase best practices
help in the exchange of ideas
debate on the opportunities and challenges for property professionals
Our panel was hosted by Kieron Murphy (Chief Customer Officer) and consisted of the following members:
Ann Carter-Gray – Head of Places (Locations, Estates, Sustainability), Cabinet Office
Dave Lister – Chief Operating Officer, IA Connect Technology
George McNamara – Transformation Lead – Future Uses of Workspaces, UKHSA
Matthew Pizii – Head of Strategy and Planning, Surrey County Council
Paul Griffiths – Head of London Estates Portfolio, Department for Business and Trade
Below is a summary of the panel discussions:
What influences why staff come into the office?
The panel agreed that mandating time in the office using a corporate policy was not the best way to get staff back into offices. Instead, they found a focus on their requirements has a more positive influence. Overall, our panel felt that more people now come into offices to use the space in different ways. For example, meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, and breakout areas are proving more popular than desks.
The work environment was also suggested as an important factor in why staff choose to attend an office. Our panel members found that providing a quality workplace and access to technology to be a driving factor when staff are considering office working or homeworking.
How do you measure the utilisation of the office?
Some of our panel members are measuring usage of all types of areas, such as desks, tables, and pods, using sensors. Others prefer to discuss the needs with their staff and build on their requirements rather than their utilisation data. As a result, these spaces have been changed to adapt to how people are using them (fewer desks and more alternative spaces).
Interestingly, one panel member found that what staff say they do is not backed up by the utilisation data. For example, staff think they have been coming into an office to use a desk. However, on-site sensors showed that other spaces, such as breakout areas and collaboration spaces, were being used more than desk spaces. Therefore, utilisation data can be key to testing hypothesis on how estate managers believe spaces are being used.
Some of our panel members are guaranteeing the availability of resources and spaces for their staff by using desk and room booking software.
The use of hubs and shared office spaces
Most panel members were in agreement that shared office spaces and hubs are going to be central to the future of their workspaces. Overall, the panel felt it was important that when shared hubs were used that the level of service provided in these hubs was consistent, regardless of their size and location.
One of the challenges mentioned by the panel with shared office spaces is related to IT infrastructure. Every organisation has different platforms and these need to be installed over secure network lines. The UKHSA shares office spaces with HSE, local authorities, and NHS England. They found that there is a huge demand for larger spaces with large meeting room space to host team meetings. To feel the benefits of coming into the office, our panel agreed that there needs to be a level of service that can be delivered by the office space that goes above and beyond the experience of homeworking.
When predicting the remainder of 2023, our panel saw shared spaces and government hubs providing the most, if not all, of their office space. It was interesting to hear that one panel member predicted that 100% of their office space will be shared. From this, 60 to 70% of this space will be space without desks.
Matrix Booking works closely with the major government hub providers, including the Government Property Agency, HM Revenue & Customs, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Ministry of Justice. We now power the largest resource management network in the UK, covering more than 375 sites and over 2,700 meeting spaces. Every day, the network supports over 100 public sector organisations to book:
and many other resources
This functionality is unique within the industry and Matrix Booking is proud to support the Government Hub Network.