Hybrid Working - Frequently Asked Questions for all staff
What is the difference between flexible working and hybrid working?
Hybrid is a way of managing working schedules within existing contractual agreements; decisions are usually made as part of a team. It usually means that colleagues undertake some of their work at their contractual place of work (usually on campus but we know that some colleagues work off campus e.g. Jodrell Bank, John Rylands Library) and some remotely (usually at home). The exact balance will vary depending on the role and responsibilities.
Flexible working is a specific variance to standard contractual agreement for individuals, which sets out working hours that are different from a standard full-time contract. It is possible to work in a hybrid way and have a flexible working agreement in place at the same time.
Why is the University offering hybrid working?
At all stages of the hybrid pilot, we received consistently positive feedback. Colleagues able to work in a hybrid way have identified a wide range of benefits including the attraction and retention of talented staff, improvements in employee engagement and greater wellbeing.
Will colleagues need to make a request for hybrid working through the University’s Flexible Working Policy?
No – all hybrid working arrangements will be agreed informally between managers and individuals/teams. Arrangements do not constitute a change to an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. We recommend using a Working Together Charter to clearly set out how hybrid working will work in your team.
Does asking for hybrid working change my terms and conditions of employment?
No. Working in a hybrid way does not change terms and conditions of employment. Colleagues will continue to have their contractual place of work as a University location.
Is hybrid working open to all grades in the PS?
Yes. Decisions on hybrid working are based on role and not grade or seniority.
Will my request for hybrid working be accepted?
Requests for hybrid working will be considered in the context of our Hybrid Working Framework. These principles include eligibility for hybrid working and categories explaining the different types of hybrid working that staff may undertake based on their role type.
Can different team members work different patterns of hybrid working?
Yes. The different categories of hybrid working are there to reflect differences in roles, and if there are different roles within a team then colleagues may work in different ways. You should discuss this with your manager.
What days can I work from home if I am working in a hybrid way?
This will be agreed locally as part of your Working Together Charter. Hybrid working is not the same as flexible working and it will not necessarily be the case that you will have fixed working days at your University location – the requirements of your role may change from week to week. Your manager can ask you to come to work on campus on any of your working days at short notice, and you will need to bear this in mind when setting up caring arrangements.
Can I ask to work from home all of the time?
You can make a flexible working request to be permanently home based, but there is no guarantee that this request will be approved. The requirements of your role, and well-being considerations will be taken into account as part of the decision-making process. Requests should be made through the University’s Flexible Working Policy and if agreed will constitute a change to your contractual terms and conditions.
Does hybrid working change the approach to working hours?
Conversations about ‘office hours’, and personal preferences around when to work should form part of the development of your team’s Working Together Charter. For example, it may support communications to have times that everyone is working at the same time, and teams might prefer regular on campus team meetings. Where teams work flexi-time this is unaffected by hybrid working and hours can be undertaken on campus or remotely.
What will happen if I start hybrid working but find it doesn’t work for me?
If you decide that you do not want to work in a hybrid way you can continue to work from your normal University location – no one will be required to work remotely as part of a Working Together Charter.
I have reviewed the most recent hybrid working categories. What will happen if I believe my role can work a particular category but my manager disagrees?
In practice, we have found this to be a rare occurrence, however, should it arise please discuss this in the first instance with your People and OD Partner. In the vast majority of cases it should be possible to reach a resolution through informal discussions.
As hybrid becomes normal practice what will happen to offices and desks?
This is an aspect that is currently in development. We are working with architectural design consultants to review our working spaces and reflect on how we want to work together in future. Colleagues will be invited to take part in these discussions as they evolve.
Hybrid meetings are becoming more common, and the Learning and Organisational Development team in the Directorate of People and OD has courses available to help teams get the best out of them. Teams are encouraged to think about when, why and how they want to meet, depending on the type of meeting required.
We are also looking at technology to support hybrid meetings and would welcome any examples of where this may already be working well so we can share best practice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
What adjustments should be made for disabled staff working in a hybrid way?
If you have a disability the University is required to make reasonable adjustments to support you to be able to work in a hybrid way and working from home may amount to a reasonable adjustment dependent on the requirements of your role. In the first instance speak to your manager about reasonable adjustments required to work in a hybrid way. If your manager feels unable to support to your request, they should seek advice from the Disability Advisory Support Service.
You may also wish to do this and there may be funding available to assist with buying additional equipment in certain circumstances. For more information contact the Disability Advisory Support Service.
Is support available to help pay household expenses when colleagues are working from home?
The University has carefully considered whether it is able to make payments to colleagues to contribute to household expenses incurred while working from home, such as heating, lighting, internet connection etc. On balance, the decision has been taken not to offer such payments but to encourage colleagues to consider making a claim for household expenses in the form of income tax relief through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Details about this tax relief and how to claim it are available on the HMRC website. HMRC advises that you make one annual claim for the period you have been working from home as the refund will likely be given in the form of a tax code adjustment, so you will pay less tax over the year. Multiple taxpayers from the same address can claim this tax relief.
How do I request IT equipment to enable me to work in a hybrid way?
If you want to order equipment for your team members visit the IT services website and under “Our Services” choose “Purchase IT Equipment” and follow the instructions on how to submit a request.
How will the University continue to evaluate the success of the hybrid working?
Since the launch of the pilot in 2021, we have collated a variety of feedback from our students, academic colleagues and PS colleagues through focus groups, pulse surveys, secondary data and our flexible working champions network.
As we work to further embed hybrid working in Professional Services we will continue to regularly gather a range of qualitative and quantitative data from our key stakeholders to monitor the success of hybrid working.