Practicalities of Hybrid Working
- Refer to the Workload Reduction Toolkit and guidance on meetings
- All teams should think carefully about how many meetings staff are required to attend.
- Staff should normally be able to attend a meeting regardless of whether they are dialling in remotely or in person. Some teams may choose to continue with all meetings online (noting that room availability for teaching on campus will be prioritised as well as the expectation that larger formal meetings will normally continue to be held through Microsoft Teams).
- Managers should avoid routinely requiring staff to attend meetings in person, as this is likely to cause additional people to be unnecessarily on campus. However, some teams may choose to require that some meetings be attended by all staff (for example one team meeting per month or quarter), noting the expectation that larger meetings with should normally continue to be held on Microsoft Teams.
- In the event of a hybrid meeting being held, the convenor must ensure similar opportunity and experience for those on and off campus. All agenda items should be dealt with in the meeting and not when off campus colleagues have ‘dialled-out’.
- Working Hours
- It is important that managers work with staff to ensure that they are not working excessive hours. This should include regular catch-up meetings including reviews of workload and capacity.
- Managers should keep an eye on staff who are regularly sending emails outside of work hours and should discourage this practice among all staff. Staff may wish to compose emails out of hours but should avoid sending them until the next working day unless essential to do so.
- Where possible the number of meetings which staff are required to attend should be minimised.
In hybrid working, maintenance of regular and effective communication is a shared responsibility, between managers and staff members, to ensure:
- Regular contact between staff and manager;
- Staff continue to feel part of the team;
- Staff are able to meet goals and expectations.
Consider some of the following recommendations for effective hybrid team communication:
- Formal committee meetings and larger meetings should normally be held online by default to ensure that priority for on campus accommodation is given for teaching space. This will also help to ensure that each attendee has a consistent experience of the meeting. When co-located employees have a face to face meeting, but colleagues attend remotely, this can lead to ‘presence disparity’, where people experience the meeting differently and communication can be disrupted.
- Teams should be encouraged and supported to establish their own principles for communication. This may include how often to meet physically, what technology to use for meetings and asynchronous work and how to ensure that communication is inclusive of everyone.
- Making use of asynchronous tools. During the pandemic many employees have reported feeling fatigued by long online meetings. When teams are working in a hybrid way, communication can be enhanced by asynchronous tools such as Slack or chat functions in platforms such as Microsoft Teams. This allows people to have more schedule flexibility, as well as location flexibility, and reduces online meeting time.
- Building in regular social and human connection opportunities to support employee engagement and team building.
- MS Teams should be used as a means of calling individuals as well as for meetings.
- Retaining a sense of ‘team’
Be deliberate about being ‘part of the team’. If you are regularly away from the office, you may have to contribute to teamwork in a different way to avoid feeling isolated.
How will you provide support to other colleagues if you’re not always visible? Can you use technology to create better collaborations? Should you increase use of video-based platforms to ensure that not all communications are based on email? How often should you have a face-to-face meeting (e.g. at the start, middle and end of a project?)?
- Retaining a sense of ‘home’
If you work from home regularly, think about how you can create boundaries and improve your own wellbeing. Agree with your manager whether you can communicate your available hours on your email signature or via your online calendar. Whilst it is helpful to be flexible, think about ways to ensure that you respond only to urgent out-of-hours contact, to avoid creating an expectation that you’re ‘always available’.
- Cyber Security and Data Protection
- You must use a University provided device for University work wherever possible as this is the best way to protect our data and services. If your University device is lost or stolen you must report this to the IT Service Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately.
- If you have not already done so, complete your mandatory Information Security Awareness and Data Protection training - https://cloud.metacompliance.com/
- Report any suspicious emails, telephone calls, activities or data breaches to the IT Service Desk (email@example.com).
- Only use your University IT account and University approved data sharing services, collaboration tools and applications for University work. If you have any questions regarding this contact the IT Service Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Ensure the area you are working from is secure and not putting the University at risk, and do not allow family or friends to use University devices.
Please refer to additional guidance on the Intranet:
- More Top Tips relating to Hybrid Working