I’ve spoken often in my blog about the ways the environment has changed for social housing organisations. With changes in funding and an acute housing shortage, there is pressure on all of us to work more efficiently and make savings on our office costs so we can invest in developing more affordable homes.
In order to be able to make this investment Thrive must change the way we do business. We are on a journey to simplify the way we work, making it easier for ourselves and our customers, providing the a good value service more efficiently. Integral to this change is the move to a more digital way of working.
For our customers this means the recent launch of our new myThrive app which enables reporting of repairs and easy access to rent accounts. We are soon to launch our customer portal which will be a digital process to manage the letting of properties that become available to new tenants.
For our staff team we are making a significant change, from the traditionally separate housing and maintenance officer roles, to multi-disciplinary customer service colleagues who can look after all types of query for our customers. We are moving to a smaller team, with less manual back end processes and much more of our work being automated and online. To make this work we need to operate more effectively as one team and have systems to help us share information more easily.
It is a significant culture change for the team, particularly those of us who have worked in housing for many years. We are all rising to the challenge, but we need the right tools to help us make the change and to communicate as one team. Introducing Workplace by Facebook is part of that journey.
As a tool it is helping us ensure all our people are connected to the conversation, fostering a team culture. From formal HR related communications to photographs of our Children in Need activities, Workplace by Facebook is becoming the first place our team goes for information about the business and to talk to colleagues. It will eventually replace our intranet. We are actively encouraging team members to use it in work time and making the most of functions such as video. We have already found this is particularly helpful when colleagues are inspecting properties out of the office and can share details with those in the office.
Of course, new ways of working are only a success if everyone embraces them wholeheartedly. I am delighted that our Staff Voice consultation group is leading on the implementation and am confident that we will reap the rewards as we make this change.