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Introducing hybrid working within Estates and Facilities

31 Aug 2021

Steve Jordan, Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities discusses the importance of empowering individuals and teams

Hybrid working

What is your role within the Directorate of Estates and Faculties?

As Deputy Director, I’m directly responsible for projects, sustainability and facilities maintenance and compliance.

How have you approached hybrid working in your teams?

We’ve had discussions at team level, which has enabled everyone to feedback and share their views about how we can best adopt hybrid working. Different teams have taken different approaches. For example, one team have all decided to come in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and they’re building in collaboration time and team meetings on those days. Other teams have come up with rotas, especially those that need a constant presence on-campus. We are also discussing within our teams how we can use our space differently and more efficiently.  

Has it been easy to decide which of the hybrid working categories rolls fall into?

Due to the broad-ranging nature of what we do in Estates and Facilities, our staff fall into a mix of all the categories. It’s therefore been different in each area - some areas have been very straightforward and other areas more difficult.  We have lots of colleagues who have operational roles which means they have to be on campus to do their job and at the other extreme, there are some jobs where staff are not required to be on-campus that often. 

What will a working day be like when you are back on campus?

For me personally, I want to make sure that when I’m on campus, I have the time to spend walking round the building where I’m based and the campus.  It is important to engage with people when on campus and there’s no point in spending most of an on campus day on Zoom meetings.  Meetings are a challenging element of hybrid working - I feel quite strongly that meetings should either be online for all or in-person with everyone present; a mix of both probably won’t work. For that reason, we are also considering having a proportion of our senior leadership meetings face-to-face.

How will you evaluate how hybrid working is working?

First and foremost, we have a huge range of services to deliver and ongoing delivery of those services must come first, so the continued performance of those services is the first indicator of success. From a team perspective, we’re looking at doing a three monthly and then a six monthly review to see how it’s going. This will give us a chance to hear feedback from our teams to see how it’s been for them.

Do you have any advice for teams who are starting to look at hybrid working?

From my perspective, it’s really about empowering people and teams and giving them the responsibility to do the work they need to deliver, irrespective of where they work from. Trust is at the heart of hybrid working and we have to give people the trust to do their job well. We’ve been doing an extreme version of hybrid working over the past 18 months and as a Directorate, we’ve been really successful in continuing to deliver excellent levels of service in highly unusual circumstances.  If we carry on with that ethos, we’ll make it a success. 

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