Activity Based Working can help hospitals and medical institutions achieve increased productivity, more collaborations and improved patient and family care experience 

At the turn of the 21st century, we were tasked to support the development of the Hospital of the Future, the Orbis Medical Centre (Orbis). Orbis aimed to set a new vision for healthcare with a flexible hospital environment designed around the patient to aid recovery. This exciting challenge spurred our imagination on what the future of work in healthcare could be. 

Two decades on, Veldhoen + Company has continued to partner with clients on health services related projects. Our colleagues in Australia have spent the past few years working with NSW Health in Australia to bring onboard workplace transformation to non-clinical areas at hospitals and the Department of Health. Just like corporates, hospitals too must adapt and prepare for the future of work. The activity-based working approach can help to improve productivity and build a culture of trust and empowerment in a flexible work environment. It connects people to people, people to their spaces, and people to their work. 

AU - Westmead Hospital O3 Hub

Westmead Hospital O3 Hub

Preparing for the future of healthcare by building a culture of collaboration and communication 

Healthcare services and facilities to help manage acute diseases and chronic conditions are easily accessible via the local network of GPs and community medical centres in most modern cities today. Hospitals are instead reserved to handle medical emergencies and complex health conditions, especially those that require a multi-disciplinary approach. However, as most hospitals are organised according to the various specialty clinics, the senior clinicians and their teams, there are few organic opportunities to stimulate conversations, meetings and collaborations with other units. 

Purpose-built spaces, especially for non-clinical work, can help to encourage more interactions among employees, facilitating their transition into new ways of working as hospitals adapt to evolving healthcare needs and requirements. They can be a catalyst to building strong workplace culture, and act as a budding ground for formal and informal skills exchanges and problem-solving among multi-disciplinary teams. 

For example, Orbis’ Knowledge and Enterprise Centre provided the necessary environment to simulate collaborative opportunities between clinicians and researchers. Together, they realised more efficient treatment plans to aid in patient recovery. In Australia, we worked on the first activity based working workspaces for the non-clinical areas at local hospitals – B2Hub at Black town and O3Hub at Westmead – to increase collaboration and productivity at the workplace. Staff feedback reflected a significant boost in employee morale: they are proud of where they work and happy to bring visitors to their place of work. 

How can Activity Based Working support patient and visitor experience?  

Hospitals are described frequently as cold and sterile, and some of you may know first-hand how stressful hospital visits can be for patients and visitors alike. At Orbis, our primary consideration was to establish the most optimal conditions for patient recovery and rehabilitation during their stay and visit. We created diverse pockets of spaces with different atmospheres and varying levels of privacy around the hospital for the specific activities they were designed for, including:   

  • Consultation and treatment rooms for clinical procedures 
  • Private wards for rest, recovery, and rehabilitation 
  • Cosy and familiar living room space that helps to put patients at ease while also encouraging them to interact and socialise with other people if they feel like it 

The philosophy also considers the needs of doctors and visitors. Doctors may require dedicated workspaces for different types of work, rest, interaction, and collaboration; visitors may need a private room to have serious discussions with close ones, process difficult news or areas to rest during their visitations. 

“Across our healthcare projects in Australia, we work to create a more efficient and effective way of working, and redesign administration spaces to support that. If you think about it, with the amount of innovation that has happened in healthcare delivery over the years and the impact of technology, it is surprising that innovation didn’t reach the important admin part of the work and the spaces to support that.

The hospital is already designed based on the principles of Activity Based thinking, and it makes a lot of sense to apply that to the admin part of the work as well. We supported staff to organise their admin work more efficiency and effectively so they can spend more time with the patient.” 

– Martijn Joosten, Managing Partner for Veldhoen + Company, Australia and New Zealand 

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to activity based working. Get in touch to find out how we can support you in your workplace transformation.  

Keen to find out more about activity based working transformation in healthcare?  

Case Study: B2Hub Measuring the success of ABW 

Blog: Activity Based Working in a Hospital? Really?  


For more about this project please contact Ng Lay Peng

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Hybrid Working and Inclusivity