Published date: 14 January 2021

Smarter working and wellbeing: my journey

Kate Richardson, our Head of National Office Programme, writes about her own personal journey with smarter working: from pre-pandemic when she first became a mother, to the new horizon we now face as a company and wider NHS.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn, you can read it here


Smarter working has evolved and grown throughout my career in property, but the acceleration in understanding and acceptance of the concept in 2020 has been amazing to see. It has been my silver lining of a strange year, which has been – unsurprisingly - incredibly busy as I expand my team’s role beyond its office consolidation programme to lead our corporate smarter working policy and space offer. This cultural shift highlights a real change for me, as the impact of our work now goes beyond estate efficiency and cost savings for the NHS, and we start to see the positive personal impact of supporting the wellbeing and work life balance of our NHS colleagues. This is particularly important in the context of NHS – all our colleagues are under pressure and need the support, tools and environments to be their most effective in supporting the delivery of excellent patient care

Smarter working became particularly important to me personally when my daughter arrived. I’m lucky that I enjoy my role so I was desperate to continue with it and somehow find a balance with work and becoming a Mum. I’ve been fortunate to find this balance with a supportive employer (and husband!), and pre-pandemic, would usually work out of the office at least a day a week. I manage a national team and work with customers in a range of locations, so it’s often more efficient for me to be in one place for all of my meetings and still be on time for nursery pick up. It’s really exciting to see this flexibility become a reality and ‘norm’ for my colleagues and wider networks. Whilst we’re certainly not yet experiencing true smarter working during pandemic restrictions, I’m looking forward to seeing my teams’ work enable this flexibility as we start returning to the office.

We are now looking ahead to the new horizon of smarter working, and are working hard to prepare the property, technological and cultural changes needed. We are beginning to implement our new Smarter working policy, working with Henigan Consulting Group & 5 Plus Architects to support genuine cultural change, and reimagining our office spaces to support new ways of working. We’ve still got some way to go, and we’re learning all the time, but I’m proud to be part of these efforts as I believe they will make a significant long-term impact on employee wellbeing and productivity.

Learn more about smarter working at NHS Property Services

We have a dedicated team responsible for reviewing opportunities relating to offices.

We can help the NHS get the most from its office estate, create better working environments for NHS staff, and to boost productivity and wellbeing via enabling smarter working and collaboration.

Learn more