Work(place) Evolution

UBC Faculty of Medicine

DOING HYBRID WELL: SHARED WORKSPACE

Introduction

Between Spring 2023 and Winter 2024, the Faculty of Medicine is undertaking a pilot project as part of the Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well initiative to introduce a shared workspace model at worksites on UBC Vancouver campus and clinical sites in Vancouver. This project is an opportunity to use our space more effectively and better meet the needs of individuals and teams in a hybrid environment.


What’s Changing?

The project involves transitioning units in the Dean’s Office from a model of individually occupied and dedicated offices/cubicles to bookable shared workspaces. By providing access to a variety of enhanced and reconfigured workspaces and amenity spaces to everyone within the Dean’s Office, different types of work will be better supported within the same workplace.

Supporting the Change

As this pilot rolls out, affected units will be supported through the transition by getting access to different types of enhanced shared workspaces and amenity spaces, new technology and tools, guidelines and training for booking and using shared workspaces, regular communications, engagement opportunities, and resources. The approach to supporting this organizational change follows the Work(place) Evolution initiative’s Future of Work Ecology Framework. Mouse over each quadrant to see how the project team will address these factors:  

Workplace

In each phase, the project team will seek input from leaders and affected staff to shape the rollout and ensure the new shared workspaces meet the needs and circumstances of each unit. In Phase 1, this included understanding units’ experiences with hybrid working, gathering unit needs and requirements, undertaking a desktop technology and chair audit, workspace planning, collecting feedback on draft guidelines for using shared space and individual/team storage, and gathering input on the experiences of affected units throughout the transition. More information on the Phase 1 engagement process is available in the End of Phase 1 Engagement Summary in the Resources section.

Implementation

Because the pilot will be rolled out across the Faculty of Medicine in phases and location by location, we have the opportunity to learn, adapt and refine the model as we go.

Phase 1 (Complete)

Phase 1 ran from March 2023 through November 2023 with 11 Dean’s Office units on UBC Vancouver campus piloting the use of shared workspaces (single/double occupancy offices and open workspaces) and amenity spaces in two waves. This included an ‘early adopter’ pilot in Summer 2023 with six Dean’s Office units on IRC (3rd Floor) to test how to best support units in the transition from dedicated to shared bookable workspaces. A broader transition to shared space with seven remaining Dean’s Office units at IRC and DMCBH then took place in Fall 2023.

Across Phase 1, 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 pilot can be found in the End of Phase 1 Engagement Summary.

Phase 2 (Upcoming 2024)

The next phase will involve Dean’s Office units located at pilot clinical sites in Vancouver. Early engagement with affected Phase 2 units will begin in the new year (more information will be shared before that commences).  Phase 2 is targeted to wrap by the end of 2024.

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 pilot project to introduce a shared workspace model at existing workspaces on UBC Vancouver campus. It will involve transitioning units in the Dean’s Office from individually occupied and dedicated offices/cubicles to shared spaces.

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

Hybrid working has fundamentally changed how people work on site and the types of workspaces they need. Since adopting a hybrid working model during the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and teams are not coming back to the workplace in the same way.

Within the Faculty of Medicine, there is a lack of spaces for people to meet and work together. Existing workspaces are being used inefficiently – many are vacant or underutilized – and are not designed to support teams working in a hybrid environment. There’s an increasing need for spaces that support and encourage formal and informal interaction and collaboration.

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 enhancing and diversifying the types of workspaces and amenity spaces available (e.g., meeting and collaboration spaces, quiet spaces, individual desks, informal gathering spaces), and making them more equitably available to everyone within the Dean’s Office, different types of work will better be supported within the same workplace. This will also 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: 604.827.2216 I Email: jamie.witt@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 pilot a shared space model. This includes UBC’s formal adoption of a hybrid work arrangement and subsequent workplace surveys.

Through recent strategic planning processes, 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.

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 pilot project involves two phases. Phase 1, completed in late 2023, included units within the Dean’s Office at two UBC Vancouver campus locations – IRC (3rd Floor) and DMCBH. Phase 2 will involve Dean’s Office units located at pilot clinical sites in Vancouver. 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 seek input from leaders and staff from affected units to shape the rollout and ensure the new shared workspaces meet the needs and circumstances of each unit. Based on their success, the engagement approaches used in Phase 1 will be replicated in subsequent phases.

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

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

The pilot project will be rolled out iteratively across the Faculty of Medicine in phases. Phase 1 began in early 2023 and concluded in late 2023 with Dean’s Office units at UBC Vancouver campus successfully transitioning to the shared space model. Phase 2, involving workplaces at pilot clinical sites in Vancouver, will kick off in the new year and is targeted to wrap by the end of 2024. See the timeline above for more details.

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.

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

Once the pilot 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 that will be refined as needed throughout the pilot and beyond.

11.  What facility enhancements are being done to create shared spaces?

Physical changes to workplaces will include some enhancements (updated décor, plants, who’s in boards, photo walls, soft seating in informal meeting/gathering spaces, and other small updates) to improve the atmosphere and create a more welcoming environment, standardizing technology across workspaces, configuring spaces to support collaboration, and dedicating existing space for specific purposes (e.g., converting some offices to quiet zones).

Large scale renovations are not being considered at this time.

Shared Space Model

12. 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, collaboration spaces, meeting spaces, quiet spaces and informal gathering spaces to meet, connect, or socialize with colleagues.

By providing different types of updated and reconfigured workspaces and amenity spaces to Dean’s Office units, different types of work will be better supported within the same workplace. The move to shared space will allow teams to connect on site in ways they may not have envisioned in the past.

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

The Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well project is focused on transitioning units in the Dean’s Office from a model of individually occupied and dedicated offices/cubicles to shared spaces. Expectations regarding when and how frequently staff need to work on site are determined by Dean’s Office unit directors.

14. 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 outlines what is expected of teams and individuals in using shared spaces. They address topics such as booking and checking in/out of individual workspaces, noise, workspace sanitization and cleanliness, workspace furniture/equipment, and technical support. The Guidelines for Shared Space can be found in the Hybrid Work – Sharing Space MedNet resource site for units who have already transitioned to shared space.

A separate set of guidelines for team, individual, and site-specific storage can be found on the same MedNet site.  

Access to Space

15. 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 well 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.

16. 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 will allow teams to book the same space on a recurring basis up to six months in advance. The transition to shared space should not impact teams’ ability to find meeting space on a recurring basis.

Individual Workspaces

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

The project team will be working 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.

18. How are ergonomics and other individual needs at workspaces going to be accommodated in shared space?

Each individual workstation has equipment that can be adjusted to meet personal ergonomic needs. As standardized equipment and technology is rolled out across workstations in shared space, you will be able to easily fine-tune your workstation no matter what desk you use.

If you need additional ergonomic support, please see UBC Ergonomics for more information.

19. What should I do if I require special accommodations in shared space?

Accommodations in the workplace are modifications or adjustments that reduce or eliminate barriers to full participation in the workplace, creating accessible work environments that enable all employees to meet the core requirements of their jobs. Some accommodations might include specific equipment or technology, or modified job duties or scheduling. 

Accommodations are distinct from individual preferences in shared space and are intended to remove barriers for people with disabilities or ongoing medical conditions. 

If you require accommodations, please speak with your supervisor and they will work with you to support your individual needs. 

For more information on special accommodations visit:

UBC HR Workplace Accommodations

Centre for Workplace Accessibility

Training

20. 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 the new booking tool for individual workspaces, MS Teams, RoomFinder, Zoom system for meeting rooms, Voice Extension Mobility, and ergonomics.

Storage

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

The types of personal storage will be dependent on your work location. Some shared workplaces may have lockable day-use storage to secure personal items at workstations, while others may have wardrobes or other lockable storage space that staff can access during on-site days.

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

In shared space there will be small, dedicated spaces for units or programs to store equipment and documents. The amount and type of space will be dependent on the needs of the unit and tailored to meet those needs. 

Equipment and Technology

23. How will the project team ensure each person has access to the right equipment and technology to do their work, no matter which shared workspace they select?

Standardized workplace technology will be installed at all individual workstations to ensure that the experience of working in shared space is the same no matter which workstation or location you work from. This includes two monitors, a universal docking station, a webcam, a wired keyboard and a mouse. This has already been implemented at Dean’s Office locations at IRC and DMCBH on Vancouver Campus, and will be put in place at clinical sites in Phase 2.

The project team is also working to provide a standardized model of desk chair at all workstations.

24. Will individuals be able to keep and use their assigned desk phones. phone numbers? If so, how will this work?

Yes. The project team has identified a solution that enables staff to use their original desk phone numbers in shared workspaces. With a few easy steps, Voice Extension Mobility allows users to access their phone and settings, such as line appearances, services and speed dials at any shared workspace. 

It’s important to note that there are some nuances with the Voice Extension Mobility Service for reaching 911 emergency services. In an emergency, users should use a cellphone to call 9-1-1 not a desk phone. More information can be found on the Hybrid Work – Sharing Space MedNet site.

Safety and Security

25.  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.

Issues

27. Who can we contact for issues with shared workspaces?

Each individual workstation has information on how to report an issue with equipment or technology. Scan the QR and complete the short form to share an issue. 

Resources

Anonymous Feedback

Project Contact

Jamie Witt, Work(place) Evolution: Doing Hybrid Well Project Coordinator
Space Planning & Facilities Management, Faculty of Medicine
Phone: 604.827.2216
Email: jamie.witt@ubc.ca