Work(place) Evolution

UBC Faculty of Medicine

DOING HYBRID WELL: TRANSITIONING TO SHARED WORKSPACES

Introduction

Between Spring 2023 and Winter 2024, as part of a broader initiative called Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well, the Faculty of Medicine is introducing a shared workspace model at select worksites. The aim is to use our existing – and limited – FoM space more effectively to address space pressures and better support individuals and teams to connect, collaborate, and do their best work in a hybrid environment.


What’s Changing?

The project involves transitioning Dean’s Office units from a model of individually occupied and dedicated offices/cubicles to bookable shared workspaces. By providing shared access to various types of workspaces and amenity spaces (e.g., meeting and collaboration spaces, quiet spaces, individual desks, informal gathering spaces, single occupancy and shared offices, VC-enabled meeting rooms, open workstations), different types of work will be better supported within the same workplace.

Supporting the Change

Affected units will be supported through the transition by getting access to bookable workspaces and amenity spaces, new technology and tools, guidelines, training, regular communications, and other resources. The project team will regularly seek input from leaders and affected staff to shape the rollout and ensure the shared workspaces and related guidelines meet the needs and circumstances of each unit. The approach to supporting this organizational change follows the Work(place) Evolution “Future of Work Ecology Framework”. 

Workplace

Implementation

The project is being rolled out iteratively over two phases and location by location, giving the project team the ability to integrate input and lessons learned and make adjustments.

Phase 1 (Complete)

During Phase 1 (March-December 2023), two cohorts – 11 Dean’s Office units – successfully piloted the use of shared workspaces and amenity spaces at two UBC Vancouver campus locations – IRC (3rd Floor) and DMCBH.  This included an ‘early adopter’ pilot in Summer 2023 with a group of units followed by a broader pilot with the remaining units in Fall 2023. Each affected site had its own unique timeline, supported by activities tailored to the needs and circumstances of the units. More detail about the Phase 1 pilots can be found in the summary reports under the Resources section below.

Phase 2 (Upcoming 2024)

Phase 2 (targeted to wrap by the end of 2024) involves onboarding select Dean’s Office units at clinical sites in Vancouver. Over the next year, the project team will roll out the new shared workspace model across Vancouver Fraser Medical Program (VFMP) space at the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Healthcare Centre (DHCC 11th and 2nd floors) and UBC Vancouver Life Sciences Centre in Vancouver. Early engagement with affected VFMP groups has begun.

Once Phase 2 has been completed and evaluated, the Faculty will look at opportunities to broaden the initiative at other worksites.

FAQs – General

About the Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well Project

1. What is the Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well project?

Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well is a project to introduce a shared workspace model at select Faculty of Medicine worksites. It involves transitioning Dean’s Office units from individually occupied and dedicated offices/cubicles to bookable shared spaces.

2. Why is the move to shared space happening? And why now?

Through recent strategic planning, the Faculty has identified some short- and long-term space challenges that need to be addressed. Hybrid working has fundamentally changed how people work onsite and the types of workspaces they need.

Within the Faculty of Medicine, our existing workspaces are being used inefficiently – many are vacant or underutilized – and are not optimally designed or configured  for hybrid work. There’s an increasing need for spaces that support and encourage formal and informal interaction and collaboration when people are onsite (e.g., meeting and collaboration spaces, quiet spaces, individual desks, informal gathering spaces).

Given these challenges, this project is an opportunity to review how our workplaces are organized and used to support individuals and teams to better connect, collaborate, and do their best work in a hybrid environment. By providing shared access to various types of workspaces and amenity spaces, different types of work will better be supported within the same workplace. Teams will:

  • be able to connect onsite in ways they may not have envisioned in the past
  • have visibility into where colleagues are working
  • have built-in capacity and flexibility to grow
  • have access to workstations with standardized desktop technology

This model will enable the Faculty to responsibly, effectively, and sustainably use existing space.

3. Who is leading the project?

This project is a joint initiative between the Faculty of Medicine’s Space Planning & Facilities Management and Digital Solutions units. It is being sponsored by the Faculty’s Facilities & Capital Planning Committee.

4. I have questions about the project, who can I contact?

For questions about the project, please contact:

Jamie Witt, Work(place) Evolution Project Coordinator, Space Planning & Facilities ManagementFaculty of Medicine

Phone: 604.218.4444 I Email: simona.dziaugyte@ubc.ca

Planning and Implementation

5. What informed the decision to move to shared space?

A number of factors contributed to the Faculty of Medicine’s decision to introduce a shared space model. This includes UBC’s formal adoption of a hybrid work arrangement and subsequent workplace surveys.

Through recent strategic planning, the Faculty of Medicine has identified some short- and long-term space challenges that need to be addressed, including overall lack of space across the Faculty, aging infrastructure, vacant and/or underutilized space due to hybrid working, and workplaces not being optimally configured to fully support hybrid teams. Hybrid working has fundamentally changed how people work onsite and the types of workspaces they need.

The Faculty’s 2021-2022 work with Gensler Architecture and Design informed planning for the Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well initiative, as well as an environmental scan, which included looking at other post-secondary institutions who had adopted a hybrid working model.

6.  Does this project involve all units/departments and work sites across the Faculty of Medicine?

Not at this time. This project involves rolling out the shared workspace model over two phases with SELECT Dean’s Office units. Once Phase 2 has been completed and evaluated, the Faculty will look at opportunities to broaden the initiative at other worksites.

7. Why were the Dean’s Units chosen as the pilot group for the project?

Dean’s Office units were chosen to lead the way by implementing, reviewing, refining, and evaluating how shared space can better support hybrid teams from a place of personal experience before rolling it out at other Faculty of Medicine locations in future phases.

8. Will units be involved during the planning for the transition to shared space?

Absolutely. The project team will regularly seek input from leaders and staff from affected units to shape the rollout and ensure the new shared workspaces and related guidelines meet the needs and circumstances of each unit. Based on their success, the engagement approaches used in Phase 1 will be replicated in Phase 2.

Each project phase will involve early engagement with affected units to understand their experiences with hybrid working and to gather their onsite needs and requirements for working in shared space. Unit representatives will be identified to relay unit requirements and other input to the project team and disseminate key project information to their colleagues. Affected staff will be able to share feedback  through surveys, anonymous feedback forms, emails, and through their unit representatives.

9. What is the overall timeline for the pilot project?

The project is being rolled out iteratively over two phases and location by location.

During Phase 1 (Mar-Dec  2023), 11 Dean’s Office units successfully piloted the new model at two UBC Vancouver campus locations – IRC (3rd Floor) and DMCBH. Phase 2 (targeted to wrap by the end of 2024) involves rolling out the new shared workspace model across Vancouver Fraser Medical Program (VFMP) space at the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Healthcare Centre (DHCC 11th and 2nd floors) and UBC Vancouver Life Sciences Centre in Vancouver.

Once Phase 2 has been completed and evaluated, the Faculty will look at opportunities to broaden the initiative at other worksites.

The phased timeline will allow the project team time to adapt to the feedback and learning of each site and make changes and adjustments before the next pilot site transitions to shared space. See the timeline above for more details.

10. What happens after the pilot project concludes? Is this a permanent change to shared space or only temporary?           

Once Phase 2 concludes there will be a period of evaluation, and refinements to shared space, tools, systems, and the shared space guidelines will be made as necessary. We anticipate shared space to be a permanent change.

Shared Space Model

11. What is a shared space model and how does it better support teams working in a hybrid environment?

A shared space model is where staff can flexibly access a variety of workspaces at their workplace based on their individual or team needs in a given day.

In a shared space model, desks or offices are not assigned to an individual and instead teams share a broader variety of spaces that can be equitably accessed across units. This includes being able to access individual desks, single occupancy and shared offices, meeting and collaboration spaces, meeting spaces, quiet spaces, and informal gathering spaces to meet, connect, or socialize with colleagues.

By providing access to various types of workspaces and amenity spaces, different types of work will be better supported within the same workplace. Teams will:

  • be able to connect onsite in ways they may not have envisioned in the past
  • have visibility into where colleagues are working
  • have built-in flexibility and capacity to grow
  • have access to workstations with standardized desktop technology

12. Will the transition to shared space impact when teams are expected to work on site and how frequently?

Expectations regarding when and how frequently staff need to work onsite are determined by Dean’s Office unit directors.

13. Are there any guidelines that outline what is expected of people working together in shared space (e.g. cleanliness, noise, storage, etc.)?

Yes, a set of guidelines for Shared Space outline what is expected of teams and individuals in using shared spaces. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the best use and a positive experience in our shared workspaces by following these. The guidelines lay out expectations and best practices for booking and checking in/out of individual workspaces, noise, workspace sanitization and cleanliness, workspace furniture/equipment, individual and team storage, information security and handling of printed files/materials, and technical support.

The guidelines will be reviewed for each group being onboarded and updated to their circumstances, as best as possible.

Units who have already transitioned to shared workspace can find guidelines that apply to them on the Hybrid Work – Sharing Space Mednet resource site:

Access to Space

14. Will teams still be able to sit together when they are on site in a shared space model?

Yes. You will be able to book individual workspaces up to four weeks in advance and will be able to select a work desk through the online booking tool that allows you to see who will be sitting at nearby desks. This will allow teams to continue to work in the same area on days when they are on site together.

15. What about accessing space for our standing weekly team meeting? How can we be sure space will be consistently available to us in a shared space model?

Booking meeting spaces will continue to be done through RoomFinder and Advance Booking Manager, which allow teams to book the same space on a recurring basis up to six months in advance. The transition to shared space will not impact this process.

Individual Workspaces

16. Will anyone be keeping their dedicated desk or office space as part of the Phase 2 pilot?

The project team will work with each unit to gather requirements and understand any unique needs. Decisions regarding dedicated workspaces will be made within that context and on a case-by-case basis.

Training

17. What training will be provided to support the transition to shared space?

Each unit will participate in training leading up to the transition to shared space, including training on Condeco (the booking tool for shared workspaces), MS Teams, RoomFinder, Zoom system for meeting rooms, and ergonomics.

Storage

18. What storage will be available for individuals to store personal effects?

Everyone will have access to some form of personal storage in shared workspaces – the type and where it is situated will depend on the location. Some shared workplaces may have day-use lockers and/or storage to secure personal items at workstations (pedestal under-desk filing cabinets).

Staff are encouraged to keep their personal items, such as family photos and spare shoes, at home even if they individuals plan to frequently use the same shared workspace. Individuals are expected to leave workspaces clean and clear and to take all personal items with them at the end of a booking.

19. What storage will be available for teams to store shared equipment, supplies, and files?

There will be small, dedicated spaces in shared workspace environments for units or programs to store equipment and important materials required for onsite work. The amount, type, and location of storage will depend on the needs of the unit and what is possible space-wise in each location/facility.

Because team storage is limited, units need to prioritize items being stored and are encouraged to digitize files wherever possible. To ensure information security, printed documents or Post-It notes must not be left anywhere on desks, walls, or meeting rooms, especially confidential or sensitive information.

20. Can we leave personal and other items in a workspace if we plan to work there repeatedly/the next day? 

Everyone using shared workspaces is expected to leave them clean and clear after each booking. Each person is responsible for removing all garbage/recycling, dishes, personal items, paper files/Post-It notes, and equipment even if they intend to use the same workspace the next day and/or for repeated bookings. Adhering to this clean desk policy ensures each workspace is ready for the next person to use.

21. What do we do with files that we use individually and as a team? 

Staff are encouraged to use digital files instead of printed hard copies whenever possible. Units must comply with UBC Records Management Office policies and procedures, including for paper records security. To ensure information security, printed documents or Post-It notes containing confidential or sensitive information must not be left on desks, walls, or in meeting rooms. All printed materials must be safely stored or disposed of at the end of the workday.

Safety and Security

22.  How is safety being considered as the Faculty transitions to shared space?

Ensuring that staff feel safe and secure in shared spaces is a priority. The project team is considering safety and security needs when it comes to personal safety as well as keeping personal items safe when staff are working on site.

All UBC employees are required to meet WorkSafeBC and UBC requirements, including mandatory health & safety training. This training is complemented by having relevant information being posted in visible locations throughout our offices. As each of our sites is unique, staff using shared spaces are strongly encouraged/required to familiarize themselves with the posted information about emergency procedures & contact details at that location.

Resources

Anonymous Feedback

Project Contact

Simona Dziaugyte, Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well Project Coordinator
Space Planning & Facilities Management, Faculty of Medicine
Phone: 604.218.4444
Email: simona.dziaugyte@ubc.ca