The University’s Hybrid Working Scheme has now been in operation for just under a year and we are pleased to announce some enhancements to the scheme, resulting from feedback received from a variety of stakeholders following a review of the scheme earlier this year.
Thank you to all managers and staff who contributed to the review – either through the survey of Directors/Heads of Service, through sharing feedback with your managers or through taking part in individual consultation with the project team. The review sought to ensure the scheme achieves a balance between providing as much flexibility as possible for staff whilst maintaining essential on-campus services and having consideration to the fact that we are a campus-based university. In addition, a key aim was to make the process as light touch as possible.
Please view a summary of the findings of the review here.
The main headlines for staff to be aware of are:
- The HWS has been widely accommodated by managers, in line with the over-arching principle that managers should seek to facilitate hybrid working where operationally possible. In the period under review 86.3% of applications were approved and 13.7% declined.
- Going forward, there will be Director discretion regarding the maximum permitted number of remote working days. The standard maximum will remain as two days per week – meaning a 60:40 office to home ratio – but Directors will have discretion to specify parameters within their area that exceed the standard maximum, subject to guidelines. This allows working practices to be more agile in view of business needs, particularly to take into account market forces in different areas.
- We will keep the standard policy under review, taking into consideration the impact on the student experience and changes to service needs over time.
- In order to make the process more ‘light touch’, we have simplified the application approval process so that Directors are no longer required to sign off on individual applications. Managers and staff fed back that the additional level of authorisation in Staff Connect proved cumbersome and time consuming. It also led to a number of errors, which may have slowed things down.
- There will be no annual application window. Both new starters and existing staff who are not already in the scheme can apply at any time.
- Additional support has been arranged to support managers with the challenges in leading hybrid teams – see here: Leading Hybrid Teams
- The University remains absolutely committed to facilitating greater flexibility for staff where possible, to improve work-life balance. Hybrid working is unfortunately not operationally viable for some staff, due to the nature of their roles, but it’s important that no grades of staff feel that they are automatically barred from applying to the scheme due to their grade (as opposed to the nature of the work they do). The University will also be establishing a separate project to explore other ways of introducing more flexibility into working practices for campus-based staff for whom hybrid working isn’t operationally viable.
Updated scheme guidance documents are available on the Hybrid Working webpages.