The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) work to protect the public and reduce reoffending, providing a more efficient, transparent and responsive criminal justice system. The vast majority of MoJ staff work at their central London headquarters and to improve staff productivity and their work/life balance; the MoJ created a range of Commuter Hubs. These hubs offer bookable desks and meeting rooms, located principally outside London or in the South East of England – used by staff instead of going into a central London office.
As part of the Civil Service Reform Plan, the Commuter Hubs programme has cut commuting time, increased staff satisfaction, and reduced the demand for desks within costly central London offices. By focusing on the needs of MoJ staff, the Commuter Hub programme has delivered a sustainable and functional working ecosystem, which has increased the productivity and cut travel times for MoJ employees.
“The Matrix Team have been fantastic. Together we managed to configure the new system and migrate all commuter hub sites in 17 working days from a standing start.”
Paul Cox – Deputy Programme Manager at MoJ National, Estates Cluster
An award winning approach to the Way We Work
Like many organisations, the MoJ offers flexible working initiatives including flexi-time, compressed hours, part time and term time working and although these schemes assist staff, they did not achieve a genuine, smart working culture.
The UK government has backed this approach by introducing an initiative to improve smart working called ‘The Way We Work’ (TW3) with the goal of transforming the workplace and developing technology to enable staff to work more flexibly. This strategy is led by the Cabinet Office and aims to help realise the Civil Service Reform Plan of creating improved working environments for all employees.
The MoJ deployed Matrix Booking and Matrix Welcome to manage both its corporate estate and the rapidly growing portfolio of Commuter Hubs and partner organisations. To manage this complex infrastructure the MoJ team utilised the following features;
- Fully self service administration
- Mobile access provided as standard
- Truly “accessible” website (WCAG 2.0 conformance level AA)
- Interactive digital room signage
- Rapid deployment and intuitive design meaning low training and support costs
The project also won a couple of accolades, winning the BIFM Workplace Impact Award 2015 and the inaugural EuroFM Partners for Innovation Award 2017.
The challenge – and how Matrix Booking glues everything together
The MoJ is a large, diverse department made up of operational and frontline services spread across the UK with more than 5,000 staff based largely in central London. The move to more modern technology is enabling an increased number of employees to work remotely, however, working from home is not suitable for everyone due to the different home commitments and situations that individuals have.
The programme developed the concept of a Commuter Hub – providing the guarantee of a desk in a location convenient to a person’s home. This approach meant that staff would spend less time commuting but still have all the advantages of being in the central office such as interaction with other employees, a desk and access to centralised systems.
Commuter Hubs provide the infrastructure including wired network connectivity alongside a Wi-Fi connection but to efficiently manage facilities; the MoJ stationed Matrix Booking by Keytree at the heart of its systems – a robust cloud-based platform that features web-based and mobile Apps.
The initial hub locations targeted London commuters to ease the burden on the central London MoJ estate, and as the network grew, a similar service was provided in areas where there was demand. The workspace and facilities are designed to be suitable for ad hoc use and staff can choose a desk via the booking application, which allows them to view locations and images of the hub and gives the ability to choose required facilities.
Impacting the lives of staff
The Commuter Hub and Matrix Booking is having a positive influence on the work/life balance of staff, and the network now has over 30,000 bookings per month. One satisfied user, Steve Rider, Head of Chief Executive’s Office, Office of the Public Guardian, said: “I think it’s brilliant. It reduces my travel costs, gives me a less stressful journey to work – and above all gives me back nearly two hours a day that I would normally spend commuting”.
The Commuter Hub network has rapidly grown; incorporating the estate of the MoJ, the National Archives, the Food Standards Agency, and the Crown Prosecution Service prompting other government departments to put in place Smart Working strategies – all coordinated through the TW3 programme.
Other core elements of the programme, namely improved technology, business change, HR policies and modifications to the main office workspaces were all essential for the Commuter Hub project to be a success.
– Flexible Working for the Public Sector