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Many Operations Group staff will be relocating to the Plaza Building in Anzac Avenue.

Many Operations Group staff will be relocating to the Plaza Building in Anzac Avenue – to save space, save money, exit buildings, attract more students, and increase student accommodation and student-facing staff on the central campus.

Reducing the space the group uses on our Dunedin campus would save money because our University’s second biggest expense is owning, operating, maintaining, and leasing buildings, Chief Operating Officer Stephen Willis says.

Based on comparisons with other Australasian universities, Otago has far more space than it should need.

Shifting will collocate staff who work together closer and improve collaboration while also getting people out of buildings that need cost-prohibitive future work to meet modern seismic and compliance standards.

We can sell any non-essential vacated buildings, and mothball or demolish some non-heritage buildings that are past the end of their useful lives – reducing maintenance, heating, and cleaning costs, he says.

Some central campus buildings could also become income-earning student accommodation and more space would be freed up on the central campus for more student-facing academic and professional staff.

The Plaza Building is currently occupied by the Pathway and English Language Centre, which will be moving onto the central campus early next year – on the Otago Business School’s Level 2 and part of Level 3.

Shifting the centre will bring its international and domestic students preparing for university-level courses onto the central campus, which will involve them in more campus activities, give them easier access to student support services, and encourage more of those students to progress to University study.

Moving Operations Group staff to the Plaza would also realise our campus master plan’s focus on having students and student-facing services on the central campus.

Another driver for moving is getting our Property Services and Campus Development staff out of 111 Albany Street which is at the end of its useful life and has low seismic ratings. We would also no longer need to lease 62 Albany Street, which would save on annual operational costs, Willis says.

Saving space how?
Space will be saved in the Plaza by supporting more hybrid working – a mix of working remotely, from home and on campus.

Some staff will have permanently allocated desks because they have specific needs, others will book a place to work in their team neighbourhoods, ensuring we use the space effectively. With many staff choosing to work from home at times, and all staff having five weeks’ annual leave, we are not anticipating a shortage of appropriate spaces for staff to work, he says.

“We know there are space efficiencies to realise; if you look around your workplace most days some people will be on leave, working from home, or travelling for work. The current 1:1 desking ratio is not efficient so the Plaza will provide great workspaces that are also space efficient,” Willis says.

A project team is now gathering details from staff who are moving then will work on the layout inside the Plaza Building.

Many industries now have bookable spaces, but we know this change may be challenging for some staff and will be working hard to make the transition as easy as possible.

The Plaza Building will need only a few minor alterations for our Operations Group staff, who will move in about May next year. The Plaza is about 11 minutes’ walk from the central campus, he says.

Who is moving?
At this stage, the project team is liaising with the following areas and their client services staff about relocating to the Plaza:
* Campus Development Division
* Occupants of the Property Services Division building at 111 Albany Street – except for Trades Services (see below)
* The Office of Risk, Assurance and Compliance
* Information Technology Services:
o Applications Support, Cloud Solutions, Continuous Delivery, Data Management, Development Portfolio Office, Development Services, Digital Learning Environment, Enterprise Business Analysis, Enterprise Identity, Information Systems Office, Infrastructure Office, Infrastructure Operations, Integration and Automation, IT Advisory, IT Architecture, IT Assurance and Security, Projects Unit, ITS Divisional Office, Network Services, Student Management, Systems Portfolio Office, Systems Services-Database Administration, Systems Services-Team 1, Systems Services Office, Systems Specialists, and Test and Performance

Our Operations Group’s student-facing staff will stay on the central campus to continue providing a high level of service for students, he says.

Trades Services
Planning for relocating Trade Services will follow later this year – identifying workshop locations can be more complicated than office locations. The plan is to move the workshops from 111 Albany Street to more appropriate space on campus as soon as possible after the Plaza move.

The project team has recently onboarded champions from the teams who will be moving. Activities these champions are helping with include gathering data and feedback, Willis says.

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