NHS Smart Estates Conference 2022

Matrix Booking was delighted to present at the NHS Smart Estates conference 2022 organised by Convenzis. The event took place online and brought together leading professional from the NHS community to hear practical presentations based on the latest NHS estates innovations. 

During the conference, Matt Etherington (Head of NHS and Corporate Sales, Matrix Booking Ltd) presented findings from our successful Hybrid and hubs panel discussions to the conference delegates as well as a case study from our recent work with NHS Kent and Medway

A summary of the session is outlined below: 

Introduction to Matrix Booking

Matrix Booking Ltd was established for under ten years. As a government and NHS SBS-approved framework supplier, our intuitive platforms based on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technologies provide desk booking, room booking, and visitor management solutions that can support flexible working. Matrix Booking is proud to work with various clients across the NHS, healthcare industry, government, corporate, enterprise and, local authorities.  

Hybrid working – the challenge

Earlier this year, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index reported 38 % of hybrid working employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come to the office. At Matrix booking, this is reflected as our data suggested that employees would attend their workplace four of the five working days in a week before the pandemic. This has now decreased to less than two working days a week after the restrictions were lifted. Mondays and Fridays are the quietest days in the office with the fewest number of employees attending their workplace. 

All signs point to employees positively embracing hybrid working in the UK. A survey recently published by Embryo has revealed that over 30 % of full-time UK employees are hybrid working. The survey highlighted that this percentage varies across different industries. 

The top sectors in the UK for hybrid working (Embryo’s survey)

  • Recruitment and HR – 55.56 % 
  • Marketing, Advertising and PR – 53.85 % 
  • Public Services and Administration – 49.01 % 
  • Information Research and Analysis – 46.15 % Insurance and Pensions – 44.74 %  

Hybrid and hubs series – learnings to date

Matrix Booking launched the Hybrid and hubs panel series this year to debate the hottest topics relating to managing workspace. The series has also focussed on the ongoing development of Government hubs as a cornerstone of property strategy, and the role of hybrid working that is turbocharging flexibility across the UK public sector. Panellists have included representatives from the NHS, HMRC, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Crown Commercial Service (CCS), the Department for Transport (DoT), and other public sector organisations. 

Over the last few months, the following themes have been prominent throughout our panels: 

  • hybrid working is a constant moving target 
  • occupancy of office space is low, but is on the rise 
  • there needs to be a clear and valid reason for people to come into the office 
  • not one size fits all – every organisation requires a different approach 
  • engaging with people to understand their needs enables organisations to provide a great place to work encouraging people into the office
  • technology can be used to make the adoption of flexible working as seamless as possible 
  • data – understanding how buildings are being used provides valuable information into organisations’ hybrid working strategy  

Hybrid and hubs series – what does the future hold?

  • hybrid working is here to stay, and we need to embrace and extract value from it 
  • consult your team members: find out how your people want to work and to meet their needs as this will improve productivity, retention, and increase your attractiveness to new employees in the long-term 
  • flexible working is a route to provide savings on estate costs; particularly within the NHS, an increase in remote working within support services will lead to an increase in clinical spaces 
  • there are still open questions around the cost-of-living crisis and how this will impact on work habits as well as the possibility of people changing locations; hybrid working means organisations can recruit from outside the local area, which opens more options to secure needed skills 
  • culture, collaboration, and encouraging further collaboration is the key to driving change; the workplace culture will provide people more reason to come into the office, which will aid staff retention and attractiveness for potential employees 
  • increased sharing of bookable resources between NHS organisations will open more space and allow access to an office for people who do not live close to one to meet their needs, which will free up much needed space for clinical use 

Matrix Booking – supporting public sector resource booking

Working with central government organisations and disparate hub programmes, Matrix Booking has supported a shift in public sector estates away from inefficient individual departmental estates to multi-departmental hubs. These hubs enable resource and technology sharing while supplying increased choice of and quality of work settings for the wider civil service. 

The four major hub programmes are run by HMRC, MoJ, the Government Property Agency (GPA), and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Different tenants are connected to each hub owner by Matrix Booking making it possible to view the entire UK public sector hub estate. This can be used by workplace teams to efficiently manage their space as staff return to the office. 

This network comprises over 375 sites offering 2,700 shared meeting and collaboration spaces and tens of thousands of desks. Since January 1st 2019, this major innovation has enabled civil servants to book millions of desks, meeting spaces, and building passes while managing up to 5,000 visitors per day across the network.  

Matrix Booking has enabled multi-tenant hubs to operate and function by offering: 

  • the creation of a resource sharing network between organisations 
  • each organisation access to bookable resources through their own platform 
  • access to private and shared sites and resources 
  • data privacy and security 
  • reporting of both local and external users 

NHS resource sharing and Matrix Booking

Let us consider the same cross-organisational resource sharing concept described above, but in an NHS Estates context. 

Through establishing a shared network between an NHS Trust, ICB, and Community Health Foundation Trust, each organisation will be able to share their resources (e.g. clinical spaces or meeting rooms)  across an entire estate. Each organisation will:  

  • maintain complete control of their resources 
  • define what resources are shared  
  • keep all their data private and secure 

Once this shared network is established, employees will have access to their own organisations’ resources in addition to their shared resources via Matrix Booking. This provides: 

  • greater flexibility for employees to choose where they work 
  • reduction in travel time and carbon output 
  • increasing utilisation rates of NHS estates as spaces are made available to a wider network of NHS employees

At Matrix Booking, we are supporting NHS organisations to establish these secure sharing networks. With resource utilisation high on the agenda of NHS Estates managers, resource sharing provides a fantastic opportunity to leverage efficiency savings. 

You can find out more about how Matrix Booking have supported NHS Kent and Medway to facilitate flexible working for their employees in our recent case study

Explore how else Matrix Booking can help you

Employees can search for desks in any of your buildings or shared hubs, find colleagues, make bookings for their team, and more.

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People can find rooms that meet their needs, including location, facilities, capacity, and accessibility. Add equipment, catering, and other essentials. 

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Efficiently manage visitor sign in systems across your sites, ensuring a secure welcome and clear communication of health and safety procedures.

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Powerful reports help you keep track of occupancy levels, usage trends, and more, so that you can continually optimise your estates. 

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