Preparing for the future of work

James Massey, 24 August 2021

MRI Software, one of the NHF’s Preferred Suppliers, recently ran a ‘technology insights’ virtual event for NHF members to help prepare housing associations for the future of work and the challenges facing the social housing sector. The event covered the accelerated use of technology solutions and innovations on the horizon that will help the transition back into office spaces.

The tech showcases focused on:

  • Improving communications with residents through digital services.
  • Creating sustainable tenancies using predictive analytics.
  • Managing the return to offices and supporting flexible working.

The sessions highlighted how technology has been supporting housing associations in these areas, particularly to manage the new challenges presented by the pandemic, and now as organisations look to adjust to new ways of working due to the shift in culture and the way in which you operate.

We hosted a roundtable for smaller housing associations and explored their specific technology requirements which include affordability and scalability in solutions. It was interesting to find that some participating organisations still manage paperwork in a written format and don’t have the ability to electronically store and update documents – a big challenge during the pandemic when offices were closed.

Accessing documents and systems outside of the office has long been a challenge, although the increasing adoption of cloud technologies and mobile working has led to more options and solutions, with uptake accelerating during the pandemic.

Interestingly over 80% of attendees joined the session on ‘Managing your return to work and supporting flexible working’. This session covered how maintaining a great service for your residents means you have to give staff the same IT experience irrespective of where they are connecting from. In conversations both on the day and following, most housing associations saw the benefits of deploying cloud hosted IT applications for not only their staff but to provide a better, more efficient, customer experience.

We also discussed how office spaces will be managed as organisations begin to return to work and how solutions such as MRI’s Space Scheduling can support your strategy to safely manage staff and utilise office space across multiple locations. As it is anticipated that a hybrid way of working will be adopted by most, knowing who is in the office on what day and managing the space efficiently is now a challenge and priority for us all.

MRI has been working with housing associations to deploy their workplace management solutions, including a recent successful project with Beyond Housing, who has an 800 strong workforce across two offices in the North East and Yorkshire. They went live with MRI Space Scheduling in June 2021, to coincide with the government’s original plans of lifting lockdown. Commenting on the project, Maeve Collier, Head of ICT at Beyond Housing shares:


"“We reached out to our existing suppliers to assess if they had any products suitable for desk bookings as we wanted to automate our process and offer something more dynamic to our colleagues, some of whom are returning to working in the office for the first time since March 2020. We had a challenging timescale to implement a product that would meet our needs and MRI had both the product and provided the assurance that the deadline was achievable. MRI mobilised their team to ensure we had sufficient information to help inform our decision making.”"

- Maeve Collier, Head of ICT at Beyond Housing

Find out more about this project in a recent case study.

For more information on MRI’s solutions and upcoming events and workshops they are hosting, please contact them through the supplier page.