What is hybrid working for teams?
Hybrid working is where team members spend some of their working hours or days at their contractual place of work and some of their time remotely, usually at their home (either on an occasional, regular or permanent basis as governed by the Homeworking Policy). In this document the term ‘on campus’ in relation to location means a staff member’s contractual place of work at the University. The term ‘working remotely’ in this document usually means working from home.
Hybrid working can also be combined with other kinds of flexible working such as part-time hours, 9-day fortnight or a job share.
- Why are we introducing Hybrid Working now?
Many members of staff shared their experiences of working remotely through the Covid-19 survey undertaken during the summer of 2020 as well as the main Staff Survey 2020. Many said they would like to continue to work remotely on an ongoing basis, recognising the benefits of partially working remotely including being more productive, feeling more empowered and having a better work-life balance. This resulted in the development of our Homeworking Policy and Procedure.
In particular, many staff fed back that the ideal would be to work partly on campus and partly at home, i.e. in a hybrid manner. When the Scottish Government restrictions in response to the pandemic are lifted, this mode of working will continue to be an option for staff.
We want to support teams to work in a hybrid way where possible, provided this does not have a detrimental impact on operational requirements, performance, or the student experience. Alternatively, where teams or individual members of staff want to return to work on campus for all their normal working hours this will be possible as and when the Scottish Government guidance evolves and allows this.
Managers are encouraged to consider how hybrid working can be implemented for their teams, considering the hybrid working principles set out in this document (refer to the section Actions for Managers).
Where an individual staff member makes an application under the Homeworking Policy, it should be considered not only under that policy but also with reference to this guidance.
- Our Expectations
As this is a new approach to working for us, we will take forward hybrid working for teams in line with the following key expectations during the trial phase up to August 2022. These are subject to revision as Scottish Government guidance continues to evolve:
- recognising the benefits of a mix of remote and on campus working for many teams and individual members of staff, it is anticipated that, as guidance changes to enable more on campus working, our new norm for teams where staff can undertake their role remotely will become hybrid working based on working on campus and working remotely for some of their time. Individual preferences for homeworking will be accommodated in so far as they do not impact negatively on service provision, colleagues or on the cohesion or effectiveness of a team. While all requests will be considered on their own merits, it is anticipated that homeworking arrangements are more likely to be based on ‘regular’ rather than ‘permanent’ homeworking agreements.;
- where staff undertake hybrid working, we will endeavour during the trial period to ensure that they have the equipment required to work effectively in both environments (refer to IT Provision for Hybrid Working);
- hybrid working does not indicate a change of duties or activities within a team or individual role, and expectations of delivery of normal duties and pre-defined commitments will continue. This also includes hours of work that staff will be expected to work, although managers are encouraged to provide some flexibility where this is possible (in terms of when hours are worked and not overall total of hours);
- where staff are working from home they will be expected to be available to be contacted and Microsoft Teams will become the normal mode of making contact;
- where staff who can work from home would prefer to work on campus, they will be able to work on campus (where Scottish Government guidance allows this);
- meetings, including formal committee meetings will normally continue to take place via Microsoft Teams unless all parties are on campus and would prefer an in-person meeting and this can be accommodated.
- It is anticipated that larger formal meetings will normally be undertaken via Teams as long as distancing requirements remain in place and bearing in mind room availability for teaching space will be prioritised;
- We will continue to adopt the principles of the Workload Reduction Toolkit – seeking, in particular, to keep Fridays and a lunchtime period meeting free where possible and minimising email traffic, especially out of hours and at weekends.
- While it is recognised that the reduction in commuting occasioned by hybrid working will help to cut carbon emissions, it should be noted that travel distance between work and home for staff will not be a factor in terms of whether an application for Homeworking is successful or not, rather cases will be judged on the operational requirements.
- Eligibility for hybrid working
Before consideration can be given as to whether hybrid working is suitable for a team or individual member of staff the criteria outlined below should be met, which are in line with the considerations for Homeworking (please refer to sections 2.2 and 2.3 of the Homeworking Policy):
- The work of the team/individual does not exclusively require face-to-face contact/a physical presence on campus. Where the function of a team or individual roles require extensive or exclusive physical presence, hybrid working will not be an option, however other forms of flexible working may be considered.
- obligations and responsibilities set out in this principles document can be met.
- Staff within a team can communicate and collaborate effectively with each other and their manager whilst working remotely.
- The roles within the team meet the definitions of one of the hybrid categories (detailed below).
Again, in line with the Homeworking Policy, any agreement to work remotely/undertake hybrid working will not be unreasonably withdrawn. Circumstances where hybrid working arrangements may be withdrawn include:
- Where acceptable performance standards are not being met (by the team overall or by individuals within the team).
- Where a member of staff is failing to meet the obligations set out in this document.
- Where there has been an identifiable operational impact of hybrid working arrangements including (but not limited to) a reduced student experience, or research productivity, poor team working, staff experience or a demonstrable detriment to some team members required to cover the work of other team members who are hybrid working.
- Where the activities of the team or a staff member’s role changes such that hybrid working is no longer suitable.
- Where it is considered to be in the best interests of the wellbeing of a staff member to be working on campus alongside colleagues.
- Where a change to the operational requirements of the Section requires on campus presence.
- Categories of staff
As part of creating our guidance, we consider that the categories of staff at the University, and whether hybrid working to individual staff members/teams will apply are as outlined below.
Hybrid working applies?
Roles where staff will need to be on campus for the vast majority, if not all, of their working time.
Predominantly campus based
The role needs to be carried out predominantly on campus (approximately 80-90% of the time) but is suitable for occasional remote working which would not normally exceed one day per week. Depending on the role requirements this may include working remotely on a rota basis shared with other team members.
50/50, 60/40, 70/30 split
The role is suitable for a mix of campus and remote work. Typically, this will involve working two or three days a week on campus and the remainder remotely (for a full-time member of staff/pro-rata for a part time member of staff). Depending on the nature of the work, this may involve working remotely on a rota basis shared with other colleagues, or a pattern where all team members work on campus/remotely on the same days. The University envisages that where roles are suitable for hybrid working they will predominantly fall into this category and the split of time on campus/working remotely will be determined by decision making locally.
The nature of the role requires a significant presence on campus at certain times of the academic year e.g. during admissions and registration, graduation. This could also include alternating weeks/periods on campus with other team members.
The role is suitable for up to approximately 80% remote working. The nature of the work undertaken means that the individual can effectively undertake a significant amount of their duties remotely. These roles may be those which are not part of a wider team, do not require significant collaboration/face-to-face interaction with others (students or staff) or which can be undertaken without detriment by working remotely. Remaining activity to be undertaken on campus due to the nature of the activity required itself or to assist with ensuring appropriate team cohesion.