Our Office

Activity Based Working at CCER

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In 2014, CCER decided to take the leap to Activity Based Working.

Our journey began in 2012, when we engaged the services of workstyle consultants Vedhoen + Co to look at how we can work better, smarter and more efficiently – as individuals and as an organisation.

What is Activity Based Working?

Activity Based Working began as an approach to the built environment, as more businesses made the move to flexible workspaces and fewer offices. Over time, it has been recognised as a major cultural shift, with ABW providing a platform for many organisations to transform their business.

Unlike traditional ‘open plan’ or ‘hot-desking’, ABW emphasises the importance of selecting a workspace that’s suitable for the activity that a worker is engaged in at any one time. The ABW office uses space to its maximum potential, and is typically comprised of carefully curated ‘zones’ which provide every conceivable environment a person may need in an average working day.

The trend is becoming increasingly popular as a growing number of employees expect to be able to work efficiently and effectively regardless of time or location.


Why ABW for CCER?

In 2012, to accompany an organisational restructure, CCER undertook a process of cultural change, beginning with identifying our current and desired behaviours and core organisational values:

  • objective standards of high performance
  • client satisfaction
  • teamwork and collaboration.

As is the case in many organisations, CCER’s previous structure centred around teams, set in an environment that was characterised by individual offices and workspaces. This environment was not conducive to the sharing of information, working as efficiently as possible or the creation of professional development opportunities among peers.

While our initial intention was to move to open plan, we quickly realised that this would not address the issues that may have been hampering us in achieving our organisational goals. Through a process of staff consultation, Activity Based Working was identified as the environment that would best facilitate the culture and work ethic that we were seeking.

The Journey

As part of the development phase, we took a detailed look at the different types of work CCER’s people are engaged in on any given day, how much time is dedicated to each type of work and what environment would best facilitate it.

This research – conducted through interviews with CCER staff and discussions with a project working group – was further refined into a ABW brief which specified the requirements for each of the ‘work zones.’ The brief defined a range of requirements including the level of noise control, visibility, the number of ergonomic workstations and technology needs of each zone.

Alongside the design of the office itself, a body of work was completed to ensure that the new space was equipped with the right technology to facilitate an efficient, practical and mobile work environment that would meet the needs of the organisation.

The Result

Veldhoen + Co worked with CCER and our interior designers to ensure the ABW brief was effectively translated into the design, which was inspired by the Church and its people.

The result is a move from individual offices to an environment that’s not only opening our doors, but opening our minds to new ways of working. Personalised workstations are a thing of the past, and we’re learning to share our spaces with one another to encourage collaboration when it’s needed, concentration when it’s not and fluidity around the way our work day is organised.

The office is also designed as a hub for clients to work in while visiting the Polding Centre.

CCER is proud to be leading the way in Catholic Church employment to trial the initiative.


The Evidence

Since moving to Activity Based Working, we’re collaborating more and communicating better. Staff members are enjoying more opportunities to benefit from each others’ experience, and the freedom to define their own working day and environment helps to create a greater sense of autonomy.

However, our journey is far from over and the team at CCER is in a process of continual review of the workspace and behaviours that will help us maintain a harmonious ABW home.

Click on the images below to take a closer look at the guides we’ve created to assist others in how to get there.