A Ministry of Justice scheme to bridge the gap between home and work has taken the Workplace Impact title at this year’s BIFM Awards

The award recognises any working environment with direct facilities management activities, systems and processes that not only deliver sustainable and functional workplaces but also create a positive working environment that drives increased job satisfaction and employee productivity.

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“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.”

Steve Rider – Head of Chief Executive’s Office – Office of the Public Guardian

The challenge

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is a large, diverse department made up of operational and frontline services, including prisons and courts and 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 majority of MoJ staff use desktop computers and telephony so need to be in the office on a daily basis but for many, the journey to work each day was taking several hours. The UK government introduced ‘The Way We Work’ (TW3) initiative with the aim of transforming the workplace and developing technology to enable staff to work more flexibly. The scheme targeted the headquarters of the organisation, which has about 5,400 staff largely working in central London.

The next step of the journey was to find a system that would meet the requirements of a large mobile workforce, providing the necessary management controls while efficiently allowing staff to take full control of their bookings.

The solution

MoJ Commuter Hubs were set up and located principally outside London or in the South East of England to offer staff the option of using bookable desks and meeting rooms in a location nearer to where they live.

Matrix Booking and Matrix Welcome was deployed to manage the MoJ corporate estate and the rapidly growing portfolio of Commuter Hubs, and 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

Onwards and upwards

The Commuter Hubs programme has significantly impacted the work/life balance of staff by reducing commuting time and increasing employee satisfaction and retention levels. The benefits for the MoJ are bountiful with a reduction in demand for desks within costly central London offices and increased productivity. But to make this a reality, Matrix Booking provided an infrastructure on a cloud-based platform that featured web-based and mobile apps designed to give an enhanced user experience without the need for user training.

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.

Judges commented that it is a “great initiative that seems to have perpetuated its own success as the opportunities arise for additional hubs”.

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