Never done it...bound to be good at it! That's just how we roll at team Puzzle

And our 'Macgyver-esque' style has never been more important than in the throes of a global pandemic. All whilst supporting Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) co-locate 400 staff, from two locations, to its new purpose-built facility in Woolloongabba.


There were COVID-19 inspired logistical challenges. Social distancing measures. State borders were shutdown, meaning fewer Puzzle 'boots on the ground'. Some staff were working remotely, others in offices. And there was a deadline looming.


Here's how Puzzle adapted, moved 400 people during a global pandemic, and successfully concluded a six-year project.


A little bit of background


After more than 30 years, BCE was on a quest to find a new workplace, purposefully designed to help them deliver better services to schools.


Puzzle was engaged in 2014 to provide workplace strategy, change management and physical transition services.


The long timeframe for the site redevelopment, allowed for broad and considered employee engagement, a change program focused on new ways of working and building technical capability, as well as better knowledge management and paper-lite practices.


Puzzle's workplace strategy focused on how the new space could support BCE's strategy and desire to provide better services to schools. We designed and developed three workplace prototypes, to test different spaces and settings with employees, and these insights were incorporated in the new design.

At the same time, BCE was transitioning to Office 365 as part of improving its knowledge management capability and end user technology. And with Puzzle's help, completed a clean-up and paper-lite program, reducing storage capacity needs by 65%.


Six weeks before the planned move, COVID-19 struck, forcing 70% of the BCE workforce to work remotely.


All the change prep meant that BCE was technologically enabled, and that people were practiced at pivoting quickly to handle new ways of working. With the gift of time during the site redevelopment and a concerted change effort, BCE was well positioned to adapt as COVID dictated, all while meeting a complex move program and timeline.


The rubber hits the road | transition to workplace


In a COVID-19 world, the relocation activities required military precision planning.


  • Hybrid on-the-ground + virtual teams. Puzzle was the conductor of the symphony, managing the transition with a hybrid 'on the ground and virtual' team. The relocation was coordinated by our ground team, backed up by virtual Puzzle coaches from around the country.

  • Sourced additional local resources. Puzzle recruited and briefed additional, local in-house BCE resources to allow the project team to adapt and respond to the logistical challenges of social distancing. We brought the subject matter expertise and enhanced the capability of the local team, who absorbed, learned, lifted, and delivered.

  • Social distancing + hygiene. We enforced strict social distancing standards and cleaning protocols between and across the relocation crews. These procedures also applied to the construction team completing workstation and AV fit outs. A rigorous deep clean was completed after the relocation, before the BCE teams moved in.

  • Safe use of space. Puzzle undertook detailed space planning, to ensure people could maintain a safe distance in the new workplace, at workstations, meeting and collaboration areas, quiet rooms and kitchen breakout spaces.

  • Site tours + induction. Just prior to the move, Puzzle provided significant change support, helping people to learn about their new space, through an online induction program and socially distanced tours. Space modelling, planning and re-purposing to adhere to social distancing requirements.

BCE moved in, without any disruption to services or operations, during a pandemic - the definition of a seamless relocation.




About Brisbane Catholic Education


Celebrating 175 years this year, Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) provides quality teaching and learning outcomes for Prep to Year 12 students, across more than 140 schools. BCE is responsible for the administration and management of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Brisbane, which spans most of south-east Queensland.


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