MovePlan and ESB Group: how to effectively transition to a newly transformed space
24th October 2023
MovePlan EMEA recently hosted a roundtable with Sinéad Conlon, Programme Manager at ESB Group, Ireland’s foremost energy company.
MovePlan recently completed a major project with the company, supporting Sinéad and her team to deliver the business readiness activity and move to ESB’s new headquarters at 27 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2.
The project saw the transition of around 1,500 ESB staff from nine buildings in three locations across Dublin, into ESB’s new sustainable and energy efficient Grade A head office building in Dublin’s Georgian core. To read more about the project, head to the case study here.
The roundtable discussion provided insight and created further discussion into the project.
Attended by a mixture of Estates and Facilities professionals across a mixture of public and private sector organisations of key interest to the group was the investment in employee engagement and leadership buy-in, alongside a focus on effective space utilisation.
Read on to find out more.
With the pandemic resulting in higher employee expectation when it comes to choosing where to work, and the resulting supportive technology and spaces required to enable this, the first question posed was whether Covid altered the early planning of the new space?
“Even without Covid, when we embarked on this process we had some reservations as to whether it would work as we were introducing something quite new in terms of layout of the space. We didn’t change the design of the workspace, however a variety of spaces changed into being far more collaboratively used by staff and it was a relief to see the newly implemented technology support and accommodate collaborative work.”
We had reservations as to whether it would work; introducing something new in terms of layout of the space
— Sinéad Conlon, Programme Manager at ESB Group
When it comes to the new space and technology, what changes, if any, were made?
“In terms of some of the changes that were implemented, in the overall plan, we initially didn’t have laptops for employees. Fixed desk terminals were going to be put in by our IT Department, but due to Covid driving everyone to work from home, IT introduced laptops to all staff.
Furthermore, with all meetings taking place over Teams during the pandemic, the technology introduced became even more supportive of the space.
We also introduced huddle rooms and tiered-seating meeting rooms and we took over a space earmarked for a retail outlet and we worked closely with our planners to turn it into an effective events space.
It’s being used to support large team meetings and monthly conferences and has become one of our spaces that is extremely well used, which we didn’t expect. It’s an effective space.”
You talked about the practical side of preparation and business readiness. A filing and storage audit was key. Do you have any advice for other businesses embarking on this process?
“What is key is establishing where you’re at in terms of filing and storage by undertaking an audit. Invariably you will have so much stuff, much more than expected.
We calculated what space we would have, and again on what each team would be getting in the new workspace. We presented this information to our senior leadership and middle management project Stakeholder Groups to get their support on the filing and storage directive that we needed to roll out.
From here we figured out our easy wins, which helped with buy-in further down the line. For example, creating a centralised stationery store and declaring a stationery amnesty freed up a lot of space. We also held an amnesty for technology and telecom items, which reduced a lot of space taken up with redundant phones, laptops, keyboards etc.
We also worked with staff to provide them with the tools to know what to do with items. This included a process map, almost like a decision tree, that helped to educate on what to do with all the files and other office items. No doubt Covid helped the process because people realised that they didn’t need half the stuff they used to have on, in and around their desks, but it still became a fairly lengthy process, but our approach meant we got there.”
We calculated what space we would have, and again on what each team would be getting in the new workspace. We provided tools, like a decision tree, for staff to know what to do with files and office items.
The investment in employee engagement was evident throughout the project. Were employees engaged with the design process? And if so, how did you reduce design creep with so much input from across the business?
“We ensured that workshops and presentations took place at all levels of the business as well as groups within these levels, such as our cyclist group, and health and safety groups. We discussed needs around showers and lockers, bike storage, ramps and extra space.
Town Hall meetings were a feature of our engagement and we also deployed an open two-way communications programme. For example, we had an email inbox to receive questions, ideas and concerns. We made sure we were very available to answer these, as well as having an open offer to present plans to individual meetings.
Workshops and presentations took place at all levels. If you have engaged everyone, asked for and shared their feedback, people feel they have been taken on the journey.
With regards to design creep, we went through a process from concept to detailed design and within this, we included feedback from the various groups in the business. These were all captured and fed back to the architects. Once this had been done, we implemented a design freeze, allowing only minor tweaks.
This is important otherwise you’ll forever be making changes. But if you have engaged everyone, asked for and shared their feedback, then the design changes – as well as all-important buy-in – should be minimal as people feel they have been taken on the journey.”
The project has been deemed a success for ESB and from MovePlan’s perspective, the team considered Sinéad’s team dynamic and forward thinking and enjoyable to partner with, which is testament to the culture ESB promotes.
MovePlan continues to support Sinéad and her team with ongoing services as required. Watch this space for more insight in the future.
Find out more about MovePlan’s File and Storage Audit service here.
To find out more about MovePlan’s Business Readiness programme, head here.
To read more about the project, read the case study here