The NHS crisis is something we all live with, affecting thousands on a daily basis, NHS staff included. It’s something that Patchwork is helping to solve, with technology that allows the NHS to organise staff, external resources, and budgets, saving time, money, and stress on its workforce.
We spoke to Ashton Tull-Bent, Patchwork’s People Ops Partner about their head office space at Canvas Luke Street, his Patchwork projects, and his top tips for where to go for “divine” Katsu.
Can you tell us about yourself and your role at Patchwork?
“I’m the People Operations Partner which is a fancy way of saying I do anything and everything. From onboarding new starters to creating policies to running around the Canvas building trying to locate laptops and trying to get the office organised and all that good stuff. I’m the people’s ‘man on the ground’ essentially.”
And how would you describe the work that Patchwork does?
“At a high level, Patchwork is a company that exists to help solve the NHS staffing crisis. You can’t live in the UK and not have heard about it. You know, the NHS is in trouble. We’re understaffed and underfunded. It’s true that doctors, nurses and all of the NHS workers are under immense stress and immense pressure, especially since the pandemic.
So, what we do is we provide technology to the NHS, which allows better ways of staffing, better ways of filling vacancies, of filling shifts. They spend astronomical fees on agency workers, and it’s just money that could be reinvested in infrastructure, technology, and hiring more people essentially. So that’s us in a nutshell!
There must be quite a lot of diverse roles you’ve got to help solve.
“Yes, there’s also plans of going into secondary care, so care homes, and we’ve got plans to expand internationally, but we have a lot of ground to cover in the UK first.”
How many people are in the company?
“Now we’re a head count of about 87 permanent employees, and including contractors, maybe about 100 people or so. So, still quite small but growing and expanding.”
And how many people are coming into the office regularly or do a hybrid? How does it work at Patchwork?
“We’re a remote-first hybrid company. So we have the office regulars, I’d say maybe about 20 people or so will come into the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays. But we also have a lot of people who choose to stay at home. We have employees spread across the UK and a few internationally, so being hybrid just definitely works for us.”
What is Patchwork working on at the moment?
“I’ve been working on our DE&I pledges and policies since the summer. It’s really important to us and particularly to people like myself being black, gay, and suspected neurodivergent. So yeh, bringing your whole self to work and creating an environment where people can thrive and have fun and get their work done is very important to Patchwork.”
Amazing, so when you’re in the office, is this your central hub for Patchwork?
“Yes, Luke Street, the Eastenders! This is the hub for us.”
Do you like being in and around the Shoreditch area?
“For me, in particular, because I don’t live in London, I love coming into the office because I get to come into the big city, eating all the delicious food, all the markets and stuff that are around, and meet my friends after work. So yeh, I love coming into the office.
I love that I have the choice of being able to come here or not, and think that that’s something we love about Canvas as well, being a flexible workspace.
Being hybrid means we can reach talent from all across the UK as we really do have the best people working for us. It’s nice to have a place to come to because being in person you get more done, there’s a bit more banter. It’s just better.”
It helps with the workplace culture, right? and you mentioned you like coming in for the food and the markets, have you got any favourite spots?
“There’s a Katsu place in Spitalfields that’s absolutely divine and the queue is always long which speaks to the divinity of the food. There is the Korean fried chicken that is honestly so good. There’s just so many options. I’ve had jerk chicken, Bánh Mì which is like a Vietnamese thing. There’s like three markets so close to this location. You’re really spoiled.”
Nice! and is this your first experience in flexible office space?
“I’ve only ever been in companies that have owned their office space so this is my first time in an office like this. I know that Patchwork was with another flexible office provider before, but it didn’t work because of security issues, and there were too many people coming in and out at any given time.
It’s nice to be in a building where there are fixed people that come in and out. And I guess it builds more of a culture around the building, I know you guys like to put on some socials stuff, and it’s so nice to have that.
“We’re all about community vibes , culture and having fun. Because we’re people at the end of the day, and nobody wants to work in a stuffy office. That’s not what we are. It’s not what we do. It’s very much about being yourself, bringing your whole self to work, and having fun.
How’s your relationship been with Lianne [Deputy General Manager at Luke Street]?
“Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I love my interactions with all of you guys. I said this on the feedback surveys that you guys are super friendly, super approachable. There’s no problem that I can’t come to you guys with. Even when it’s not something you have to sort, you’re always happy to guide me with it and point me in the right direction. Which I really appreciate. You guys are cool. I like you a lot.”
So, what are your favourite aspects of Canvas?
“It’s got to be the plants. It’s like a jungle in here and I live for it, I absolutely live for it, it’s so good. They’re living things they really do just make you feel good when you see them and you guys have a great gardener that takes care of them all.
Yeah, plants and the kitchen space downstairs, it’s nice to get out of the main office and be able to grab a little coffee and do your thing downstairs, I like the communal area down there. Plus we have our own personal foosball table!”
You have quite a big office up on the first floor, but do you ever use the event spaces like the bleachers to run presentations or bigger group meetings?
“Yes, we do use the bleachers mostly when we have external speakers coming in, because it’s a nice setting, you know, with the little stairway. I feel like the bleachers are very much Shoreditch vibes. I hadn’t seen anything like it before I joined here.”
We’re actually also looking to get a movie licence, to be able to watch movies there.
“Yeah! That would be nice. Get a popcorn machine going, slushies in the summer… and ice cream. It’s never too cold for ice cream!”
At Canvas, we’re always looking for new ways to make our clients’ experience a great one. So, we spend time talking to them about what they love and what they want to see more of in the future. If you’re looking for a flexible office provider that listens and truly values your opinion, come and talk to the team.