We had a great day at Govnet’s recent Assets and Estates Management Conference 2017 – thank you to everyone who joined us at our seminar and those who came and chatted to us at our stand.

It was a pleasure to connect with so many of you facing similar issues to those which we tackled first hand in our case study at Bristol City Council and from our experience of other projects.

The following is a summary of some of the Q&A’s raised at the end of our session, we do have a more detailed version of this so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information or with any further queries you may have.

What did BCC do about car parking?

  • City Centre location meant limited existing parking so staff expectations already managed
  • Implemented Green travel plan, including;
    • Pool cars, outsourced to a major UK provider allowing flexibility in provision of vehicles on a hourly or daily rate
    • Introduction of electric bicycles and vehicles
    • Increased facilities for walkers/runners/cyclists including showers, storage, changing and drying kit
  • Provision of blue badge parking
  • Provision of green badge parking (a discretionary council scheme for short term badges)

What did you provide to improve ergonomics for staff?

  • Standardisation of the desk and chair set up has been made across the reduced estate selected against strict criteria
    • This has led to a significant reduction in the requirement for ‘specialist’ chairs previously provided at great expense by occupational health
    • Training is provided to users on how to adjust chairs for the best ergonomic performance
  • 20% of desks provided are motorised height adjustable desks, which can be adjusted between seated or standing
  • Monitors are provided on arms which are easily adjustable to the correct height
  • Additional equipment is provided on a shared basis which could be used by staff as and when required such as foot rests and keyboards
  • A wider range of settings has led to greater mobility creating a healthy working environment

How did you manage peaks in occupation through the week?

  • Reviewing HR policies/contracts e.g. part time contracts have a lot to do with less staff formally working on a Monday or Friday
  • Fewer bookable spaces can help to push out the problem
  • Investigate what is drawing people in e.g. a senior management meeting happening on the same day every week and associated meetings happening around it
  • Incentivise room booking at quieter times by either not charging for the room (if there is a charging system in place) or by offering free lunches or refreshments
  • Allowing access to car parking spaces that may otherwise be off limits could also be used as a Friday incentive

How did you achieve such a large increase in capacity of City Hall?

  • City Hall is now the designated base for 2400 people
  • Fire capacity for the building is 1634 at any given time. However it was never imagined they would all turn up at the same time on the same day expecting to work
  • However if the building did ever reach capacity it was designed that there would still be a choice of settings available to staff so that the last person in would have appropriate settings available for their work tasks
  • Our main challenge with City Hall was getting fire engineers to establish this figure without having the ability to count desks

How did you keep large teams (40 – 50 people) together?

  • The two different hub buildings provided different opportunities
  • 100 Temple Street with its large open floor plates could easily accommodate large groups although there was still flexibility within this arrangement and staff could ultimately sit wherever they felt suitable for their work task

How did you provide tea and coffee?

  • The council provided basic tea and coffee free of charge to staff
  • This was accessed locally via a tea point in each floor/wing of the building. Tea points contained Zip taps with instant boiling and cold water, mugs, dishwashers and fridges
  • Implemented a new FM routine to service these spaces refilling provisions and milk, ensuring fridges were emptied and cleaned at the end of every week and dishwashers were maintained
  • A central provision was made for microwaves if staff wished to heat up their lunch without creating any unwanted odours in the workspace
  • A small café has also been provided where staff can purchase barista made coffee and a ‘grab and go’ style food offering

How adaptable was the grade II* listed heritage building to accommodate a modern working environment?

  • The building provided us with many opportunities to create a space which worked for the council
  • Whilst large open plan spaces have their place we recognised the requirement for spaces which could nurture team working interaction, engagement and feedback
  • Restoring some of the key heritage areas such as the Cash Hall has given the building a new identity and provided a space where staff can be accessible not only to each other but their partners and wider business community
  • The refurbishment has reintroduced the public to the building and given the Council an asset that they can promote to the whole City
  • Revised strategies for circulation routes, entrances and wayfinding simplified the complex layout of the building along with providing resources such as an on-line ‘digital map’, promoting use of multiple work setting options ahead of traditional desks and/or meeting rooms

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information or with any further queries you may have.