Introducing our new approach to ways of working

An email sent to all staff by Dennis Hopper on Thursday 26 May.

Dear colleague,

Today, I write to all colleagues with an update on our ways of working and to share some new resources to support us all.

When we talk about ‘ways of working’, we’re referring to the common understanding and principles which shape our working practice. Our practice has gone through several rapid changes over the past couple of years, and now it’s time to move towards a clearer, more strategic approach.

To shape our ways of working, we have worked with academic and professional colleagues from across the University, drawing upon academic research and feedback from key groups, including our recognised trade unions. Our goal has been to develop an approach that aligns with our values and supports the achievement of our strategic objectives. 

I want to emphasise that this refreshed approach to ways of working does not represent an overnight change. Indeed, for some areas, it may mean day-to-day life continues much as it is right now. Other areas may need to take more time to adopt this approach and we acknowledge this needs to be done collaboratively and at an appropriate pace.

Our approach to ways of working

We have a broad range of roles across our University, but fundamentally, we are a campus-based community and we share common goals and values which drive the approach to when, where, and how we work.

We know that one size does not fit all, and so we’re adopting a layered approach that takes into consideration the wide range of roles and activities across our community. It is based on three elements:

  1. University requirements
  2. Local requirements
  3. Scope for individual choice

Our new ways of working website explains the approach in detail and contains resources to inform and support all staff and postgraduate researchers. Resources include:

  • the principles and details underpinning the University requirements, 
  • a visual summary of the approach,
  • guidance for leaders,
  • relevant information about wellbeing safety and health, IT, facilities/work spaces, sustainable campus and travel,
  • a feedback form for individuals or teams to share feedback, ideas and concerns,
  • details of related events.

Find out more on the ways of working website

Why we need to change

This was in our plan even before the pandemic, driven by our 2020-30 strategy. Paul Boustead, Chief People and Culture Officer, explained it well in his recent Inside Track ‘Achieving balance in our new ways of working’ when he said:

“We were always going to need to change to remain globally leading and continue to attract, recruit and retain the best people and deliver the best possible outcomes for all. The pandemic has accelerated this and our new values reinforce the need to embrace and discover new ways of working.”

Learning more about what this means for you

Your local leaders (for example, heads of school, heads of professional services) will now take appropriate time to consider what the local requirements are for your area and what this means for ways of working and the scope for individual choice. This will be done within the context set by the University’s requirements outlined on the site. They and/or your manager will then engage with you about this during the summer. They will also consult with HR colleagues to make sure local requirements are equitable.

In the meantime, please visit the ways of working website to get familiar with our overall approach and consider any questions you may have for your line manager, your local leader or to share via the feedback form. Alternatively, you can also contact your local HR team.

I’d like to thank you for the way you have adapted to changes over the past two years and I’m excited to see this approach come to life over the coming months.

With best wishes,

Dennis Hopper
Interim Chief Operating Officer

Note: as the website is on SharePoint, you may be directed to log in to Microsoft 365 using your University ID, if you are not already logged in.

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