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Hybrid working in the Division of International Development

22 Jun 2022

Deborah Williams, International Programmes Administrator shares her experience of hybrid working

The University of Manchester

Can you tell me about your role in the Division of International Development?  

We manage the University’s international exchange programme. My role involves helping students navigate the various stages of the exchange programme from support with applications, working with the partner universities, providing advice and guidance on the things they need to prepare for their trip and supporting students when they are abroad right up to their return. 

How have you found the hybrid working pilot? 

It’s gone really well. Due to the amount of administrative tasks involved in my role, being able to work from home has enabled me to work in a more productive and focused manner - I find it easier to concentrate and get more work done without any interruption. 

There’s also a considerable improvement in my work-life balance; the lack of the daily commute has freed up more time to stay in control of life admin tasks and fit in things like a quick walk before work which really sets you up for the day. 

I have an autoimmune condition so having the flexibility to work from home has been really helpful for me in many ways.  

What kind of activities do you do when you are on-campus?

We identified a business need for at least one member of the team be on-campus one day a week, so we all take it in turn to go in one day a week. When we’re on-campus we supervise our team of student global guidance ambassadors and will schedule in face-to-face guidance sessions with our students who are preparing to go abroad.  We’ll also go on-campus to attend some of our Directorate events and host some of our programmed events for students.  

Are there any other benefits to hybrid working that you would like to share? 

I feel that hybrid working has created an increased feeling of trust amongst colleagues as there used to be a culture of presenteeism that was at odds with the University’s flexible working offer. This sense of trust feels good and improves job satisfaction as you feel more empowered. 

The impact on environment is also an important factor – less travel, less printing, less disposable packaging and coffee cups is better for our planet. 

I’ve also had increased engagement with students and with academic colleagues.  Working with platforms like Zoom and Teams has made it easier to communicate with colleagues across the organisation in a quick an easy manner as we’re not just relying on emails.  

More information 

Visit hybrid working