Developing people-focused estates and navigating a post-pandemic way of working with Livewell Southwest
For many of us, Covid-19 has changed the way we think about and approach work, with many organisations abandoning office-space or moving to hybrid models, with no real plan for the future. Livewell Southwest (LSW) saw the opportunity of this change and with support from Baxendale have moved to a transformative and more people-focused way of working. What started out as necessary change; working from home without a choice has now developed into the rollout of hybrid working and the acceleration of plans to develop a digital offer across multiple services. The challenge for LSW was how to develop their estate in a way that supports these new ways of working. Do nothing or do minimum was not going to work in this brave new world.
LSW provides integrated community health and care services to populations across Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon, and currently operate out of 78 buildings, leased mainly from system partners including, NHS Property Services, Community Health Partnerships and Plymouth City Council.
LSW commissioned Baxendale to support them to develop their Smarter Spaces estates strategy with a remit that went beyond factors such as the physical condition of buildings. A key driving force was that LSW wanted their buildings to bring joy to the people who used and accessed them, recognising that people should be at the centre of everything for a modern healthcare provider.
We started with an analysis of all 78 buildings, working alongside key operational and clinical stakeholders with good working knowledge of the spaces and focusing on physical condition, functional suitability, and quality. We also considered the impact on buildings of the newly embraced hybrid working approach and new ways that services were now being delivered. This highlighted the need for an increased availability of informal space to collaborate and bookable desks and clinic rooms to support flexibility and enable people to work from spaces at times that suited them.
What we discovered is that whilst most of the buildings were in a good state and met current needs, there were real opportunities in the future to look at how to use those spaces in a more efficient way. Inevitably there were also buildings identified that would never meet LSWs needs and we made it a priority to work with the LSW team to call these buildings out and get to an agreed position that they would need to find better, more suitable, and cost-effective alternative spaces. Bringing this truth to the forefront was a key milestone in the development of the Smarter Spaces strategy.
We then focused on working with the LSW team to develop a vision statement that could be used to guide all future decisions about the estate. This was important because with so many changes including relocations to be considered, a clear framework was needed. We helped LSW to set the following eight-point vision for its estate:
Having a solid grasp of the current estate at a granular level and a strong vision to guide the future direction of travel allowed LSW to build a framework for the development of its estate. We supported LSW to map out a detailed programme of investment, relocations and disinvestment that would ultimately lead to achieving the vision. An additional challenge in doing this was to ensure that plans were not only aligned with local system plans for public estate but actively supported and accelerated those plans. The Smarter Spaces estates strategy achieved this aim and was warmly received by system partners as a result.
The hard work now begins, and Baxendale are delighted to have been appointed to develop a more detailed programme of interrelated projects which include the implementation of room booking and utilisation software and a series of relocations, disinvestment and investment. Again, LSW are determined to put people first and are viewing this as a change programme for people supported by estates rather than the other way around. This means that staff teams are engaged throughout by setting their own requirements for buildings based on the way they work and deliver services and working with estates experts to ensure that technical solutions meet their need in a way that will bring joy to all that use and access LSWs buildings.
To learn more about developing smarter, people-focused estates contact Jim Brooks at Baxendale here: contact us.