Hybrid Working - Guidance
A PDF version of this guidance can be found here: Guidance - Hybrid Working
The University recognises the opportunity to alter and reshape the way that we work, to enhance staff satisfaction, the student experience and to better fulfil our ambitions. Embedding new and innovative ways of working will be instrumental to this, making the University a truly exceptional place to work. A collaborative approach to work coupled with a digitally enabled working environment aligned with our values-led, engaging and enabling culture through which authentic and adaptive leaders and their respective teams are trusted and empowered to deliver our strategic aims.
It is recognised that in many areas we have grown our capacity to work in new and different ways as evidenced throughout the pandemic, however we have yet to experience how combining remote and on-campus (hybrid) working works in practice and to explore how it can work successfully whilst maintaining or improving our collective outputs.
Reshaping the way that we work will naturally take time and there will be challenges to navigate prior to fully realising all the associated benefits. We expect our collective experience in this area to evolve and grow over the next 18 months to two years as we identify, test and adapt new approaches. This guidance and associated resources has been developed to assist line managers and colleagues and will act as a working document which will be regularly reviewed and revised, informed by our shared learning and experiences as the months progress.
The University recognises that colleagues work across many different types of roles and teams. Some roles will not be suited to hybrid working whilst many areas of the University already have flexibility around when and where work is undertaken with a degree of freedom to determine the best or preferred approach dependent upon the nature of the work. This applies to academic areas in particular and it is anticipated that new approaches to hybrid working will build upon the good practice that is already in place.
The University will be guided throughout by our community’s collective experience in adopting and trialling new ways of working whilst emphasising the importance of continuing to deliver on our strategic ambitions whilst ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of colleagues in an inclusive, transparent and collaborative working environment which and puts people first.
Hybrid working is the ability to vary place of work usually by prior arrangement. It tends to be a mix of working at the University, as well as at another location, usually our home address. Most commonly it is a mix of working on campus and at home.
Hybrid working arrangements will typically fall within ‘informal requests’ as described within the University’s Flexible Working Policy and will not normally require a change in terms of conditions of employment. Combining hybrid working with other forms of flexible working such as part-time working or compressed hours would require a more formal flexible working request to be submitted through the relevant line management structure. Further information is available within the University’s Flexible Working Policy.
Hybrid working will ordinarily be widely and transparently considered across the institution where the nature of the work being undertaken lends itself to such an approach. It is acknowledged however that there will be some roles for which hybrid working may not be suitable or appropriate; some colleagues may prefer not to work in a hybrid way; and equally, hybrid working arrangements are already utilised widely across many areas of the University upon which we can build.
It is essential however that hybrid working arrangements are appropriate to the nature of the work being undertaken and meet the requirements of the role, team and University and involve a combination of working on campus and at another location. Managers should discuss with their teams how colleagues can best deliver in their various roles.
Hybrid working roles will normally meet the following criteria:
- The duties and responsibilities of the role and the expectations of the job can be delivered utilising hybrid working, whilst maintaining continuity of service delivery.
- Appropriate technology/equipment/workspaces are in place
Hybrid working brings many benefits to both colleagues and the University, including:
- Empowering colleagues and teams to be at their best and provides an element of choice in selecting the right environment for the nature of the work undertaken, while fostering an engaging and enabling culture built on mutual trust, collaboration and transparency.
- Improving health and wellbeing thereby positively contributing to work-life balance for colleagues incorporating a healthier approach to work, and recognises the diversity of our community, varying lifestyles and preferences.
- Enhancing colleague motivation, engagement and retention through a positive and productive outputs-based culture with mutually agreed flexibility.
- Realising the collaborative benefits of digital tools making meetings or collaborative tasks easier, simpler and slicker.
- Increasing the diversity and inclusivity of our workplace through the removal of any perceived or additional physical barriers to work (e.g. travel to work, caring responsibilities, etc.) thereby enhancing our prospective talent pool to the University.
- Maximising space utilisation across our campuses thereby enhancing our on-campus working environments to suit the requirements of different approaches to working i.e collaborative exchanges, lone working, quiet spaces, etc.
- Reducing our carbon footprint thereby positively contributing to the University’s Glasgow Green strategy, and related carbon reduction targets through environmentally friendly approaches to work, including reducing emissions linked to commuting.
The University has outlined a number of principles within which hybrid working should be considered, discussed and operated:
- Deliver on our core purpose
- Be people-led
- Be open-minded
- Develop inclusive ways of working
- Give choice to colleagues
- Focus on outcomes of work
- Develop guidance for colleagues & managers
- Develop leadership capacity
- Prioritise the health, safety & wellbeing of colleagues
- Ensure that sufficient resources are in place
6. Discussing and Agreeing Hybrid Arrangements
Our teams work across a huge variety of different roles with differing requirements and everyone has their own individual preferences and lifestyles. As a result, it is likely that any given area will see a mix of different ways of working.
As the majority of colleagues progress through the wider return to campus, focus has turned to exploring the most appropriate ways of working that may be consistent with our future ways of working (where applicable). We are about to embark upon an unprecedented period of change that will require patience and creativity as new ideas are identified, trialled and adjusted.
Communication will be key to balancing these requirements for successful hybrid working, engaging in meaningful dialogue, to discuss and explore alternative options while actively involving and openly engaging with colleagues in a fair, open, and transparent way with respect to any new arrangements. One key element to consider is the overall balancing of business requirements with both individual and team preferences (in line with the overarching principles).
Key considerations to balance when considering hybrid working
Individuals may enquire about adopting hybrid working, or managers may proactively consider it at a team level. Managers should talk to their teams to explore all the relevant factors in planning any move to hybrid working. It may be helpful to consider the following structure (adapting to suit the context):
- Consider the environment in which hybrid working would operate
- Understand individual circumstances and preferences
- Decide on an appropriate approach
- Test and Adjust
6.1 Consider the environment in which hybrid working is being considered
Take stock of the various environmental factors that may impact on any hybrid working discussions and/or subsequent arrangements, including:
- The nature of the role and/or work being carried out, the service requirements or other outputs or deliverables
- The role hybrid working may play in complementing service delivery
- Any work priorities and the resource requirements around these (e.g. for essential on campus/in person activity)
- Any scenario-based or specific/relevant points from the Hybrid Working FAQs
- The available office, laboratory or collaborative space and IT infrastructure
- The available skills and aptitudes to sustain hybrid working
- Any survey results relating to broader thoughts/desires around hybrid working
- Understand the wider policy framework, including Flexible Working. Hybrid working can typically be carried out as informal flexible working with no requirement for an application for non-contractual changes.
6.2 Understand individual/team circumstances and preferences
Hold open-minded conversations with colleagues to build an understanding of their individual working preferences and how these may fit into a hybrid arrangement within the wider team, including:
- Who works in a role with elements that can be delivered remotely?
- How much of the role can be delivered remotely?
- What working arrangements are preferred?
- What are the benefits vs challenges of these arrangements?
- Are these compatible with the nature of the work and the work of the wider team?
- If not, are there any alternatives or compromises that can be identified (e.g. if required on-campus, can there be flexibility around timing/hours?)
- It may be appropriate to hold conversations at team-level to jointly work through and agree preferences and how these would overlap in practice.
6.3 Decide on an appropriate approach
Having gathered the information above, decide on appropriate working arrangements for the team/area and communicate these, giving consideration to:
- Balancing individual preferences against the preferences of others in the team, exploring any business impacts and jointly agreeing compromises
- How proposed benefits match up against any identified challenges and/or can any challenges be overcome or mitigated
- The fairness of any decision and understanding any possible impacts on others to ensure all colleagues are treated equally. There should be a robust justification where any preferences cannot be supported.
- Implementing any new approach by communicating and agreeing a transition with the individual/team, giving consideration to obtaining (if required) the appropriate IT equipment and ensuring appropriate risk assessments are carried out and that any reasonable adjustments have been considered and implemented (these may be different for remote workspaces than they are on campus).
- Where no agreement can be reached on hybrid working, colleagues may consider it appropriate to make a formal request under section 5.7 of the University’s Flexible Working Policy.
6.4 Test and Adjust
New ways of working can bring some significant change and once a new arrangement has been agreed, whether at individual or team level, this should be tested in practice to ensure it is optimal for the work being carried out. Consideration should be given to:
- Planning regular reviews to check-in on how it is working, easing these over time if it is a success. In larger teams, a pulse survey approach may be effective for this purpose.
- (If appropriate), following an outputs-based approach to working to help raise the visibility of successes. This approach may also play a role in workload monitoring to ensure appropriate balance is maintained.
- (If any challenges are identified), working together to explore solutions/remove barriers then continue testing any adjustments in the same way.
- Hybrid arrangements will remain subject to review and variation as needed by organisational needs. Hybrid working arrangements may be withdrawn where the arrangement has led to identifiable negative impacts or where the individual/team are failing to meet agreed performance standards or the principles of this guidance.
- Where it is working well, successes and lessons learned should be shared more widely to support others on their hybrid working journey.
7. Additional Resources
Managers considering hybrid working should explore the Hybrid Working Toolkit.
The Hybrid Working FAQs also outline further detail in response to specific questions or scenarios whilst the Guidance – Hybrid Working Good Practice document outlines some further considerations to make the most of hybrid working.