NIHR CRN (Clinical Research Network) North East and North Cumbria (NENC) hosted by Newcastle Hospitals.
The Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria totals around 80 staff with bases across the North East. It is hosted by Newcastle Hospitals with office space at Regent Point in Gosforth for 32 staff.
The CRN worked in partnership with the Trust’s estates team to optimise the work space moving to a hot desk model and has halved the number of desks at a time when capacity has increased. A hybrid working model is in place and new bookable facilities to support this.
The team looked at how to:
- Optimise cost effective space
- Invest in flexible working and wellbeing
- Invest in facilities to promote an efficient, productive and wellbeing focused office space
The CRN worked with the estates team to produce a layout which would reduce the usual desk space by half and create a working environment to facilitate flexible working whilst also making reasonable adjustments for colleagues.
Meeting rooms were introduced for collaborative work and two sound proof pods for colleagues to take video meetings and calls. A purpose-built booking system was allows staff to book desks, pods and meeting rooms throughout the week, as well as check when their colleagues will be in the office. It gives valuable analytics across the regional offices on desk usage so the team can plan the space it needs going forwards.
The project has initiated culture change for colleagues, enabled them to continue working and made optimal use of space.
The team has reduced the amount of office space occupied since they moved to a hot desking model, despite increasing staff numbers.
The estates planning team is working with other departments using the lessons learned from this project as part of an approach to change how office space is used by the Trust.
Morag Burton, chief operating officer for NIHR CRN NENC said:
“The project has been really successful in supporting culture change, optimising space and enabling a new way of working which staff feedback has shown has improved the working lives of our colleagues.”
Sam Grainger, estates planning officer at Newcastle Hospitals, said:
“At a time when there is high demand for space, this was a great project to be involved with. It optimised the use of the existing office area, released space back to estates to be used by other teams, and supported a culture change in the approach to the use of office space for this team, which had a positive benefit for the staff.”