Transformation Team - A team approach to hybrid working
Over the past 12 months colleagues across the university have been establishing their post-pandemic ways of working. Based on the 6th floor of the Gilbert Scott building the transformation team had already adopted an agile approach to their working space before the pandemic, but since making a gradual return to working on campus following the pandemic, they adopted a team approach in developing their new hybrid working arrangements.
How did they do it?
All hands call
All members of the team came together to discuss their individual and team preferences for Hybrid Working. They explored the information available to them so far through team feedback and survey responses and discussed their initial thoughts of what they wanted as a team. Through the discussion they recognised that the majority of the team had a preference for working in the office two days per week with remote working three days per week, where working in the office was guided by business needs.
Established a Hybrid Working Group
Building on the feedback from the “All Hands” discussion, a smaller team of colleagues agreed to investigate and design options for what a hybrid working model might look like for the transformation team. The smaller group met weekly to share and discuss progress and ideas and kept the conversation going via their Teams channel.
The scope of the group was to identify how the team could return safely to the office as lockdown restrictions eased, with the ambition to build a vision and a way of working for the long term future and therefore creating a sustainable model of hybrid working for the transformation team.
The approach the group took was to investigate the growing amount of research and articles into this area. Capture a set of personas and scenarios and test assumptions via the scenario and persona tools. The group agreed to keep in close touch with the wider University goals for hybrid or agile working.
The group provided the wider transformation team with regular updates on progress and tested ideas with team members.
Taking a “blank slate” approach, the team took some time out to put together their personal visions of how they would like to work to shape a working model that would work for their types of roles.
Setting aside five minutes of time, each person in the group took a blank sheet of paper and pens and wrote/drew/doodled a visual to describe their ideal working week in the team. When undertaking the exercise, they considered:
- Where are you? What are you doing? Are you at home? On Campus? In a coffee shop? With transformation team colleagues, with stakeholders? On your own?
- There is no judgement, this is about how you would like to do what you do.
Examples of the different visions were shared in an interactive session to build a team vision and consider longer-term scenarios.
The group created a collective vision, which states:
- We value contribution and flexibility
- We value working together
- We are inclusive
- We can work from anywhere
The vision looked in more detail across 4 areas:
- The physical working space
- Working together (intentional collaboration)
- Life-Work balance
- Wellbeing & social
From those areas they then identified the activities required to make it a reality, over 3 broad timescales:
- Now – with restrictions still in place
- Next – as restrictions reduced and more capacity in space available
- Later – the future with no restrictions and implementing a fuller hybrid model
12 months on...
As a result of this work some changes were made to the layout and furniture options in the office, providing more relaxed and informal spaces. There has also been a refresh of some of the office technology so that the provision is up to date with the advice from IT. There is a regular team newsletter which features updates on changes to the office and seeks feedback on the experience and needs of the team.
With those changes now in place the team are looking forward to trialling an RFID system which shows occupancy in real time – allowing staff to plan their visits and to allow them to understand how the office is being used, which will help to evolve the best use of the space as this way of working matures.
“With more and more in person meetings and workshops happening across our projects the team have been able to put their vision into practice. The office space is being used more and more, and it has been really nice to see people more informally as well as in collaborative sessions”. Sarah Quinn, Director of Programme Delivery