AWA began working with BHF in 2016 to support its transition to its Smarter Working model. AWA’s track record in supporting similar organisations in their journey to new ways of working, its science-based, holistic approach and our team’s cultural fit with the BHF were among the reasons the BHF chose us. As Kerry Smith said afterwards “you seemed to know us better than we knew ourselves”.
We began by undertaking a comprehensive study, designed to understand what the BHF’s leaders were seeking to achieve, how they wanted to work going forwards and how the workplace was used. The BHF’s IT infrastructure was assessed for its ability to support their ambitions for more digital work, along with its management skills, culture and portfolio of locations.
The aim was to answer this question: How could Smarter Working be used as a tool to enhance productivity and support the BHF’s business objectives, enabling it to put more of its available funds into research?
To kick off the process, AWA held a vision workshop with the BHF’s senior leaders and managers to discuss the businesses priorities, the people and behaviours needed to support future working.
The study resulted in a variety of recommendations from workplace technology enhancement, leadership skills, cultural changes and workplace design and management.
One of the most pressing ‘tactical’ items on the BHF’s agenda was how to support its dramatic headcount growth in its London-based population, centred around its office at Greater London House in Mornington Crescent. As well as accommodating the BHF’s London workforce ‘GLH’ was also a symbolic and practical focal point for research meetings with partner organisations.
From our study, we knew that the office could support a much larger population if a Smarter Working regime was introduced. Everyone, including the CEO, could work in a mobile fashion in the office using space on a ‘just in time’ basis. To turn the idea into reality we worked with designers and space planners to redesign the BHF workplace to accommodate a smart working model, which meant increasing collaboration spaces and places where people could do quiet and confidential work, introducing new storage solutions and unassigning most workplaces. Given that the BHF only had five years left to run on their lease at GLH, it was vital that all the investments made in furniture were able to be reused wherever BHF landed.