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An introduction to hybrid working Evolving the way we work

An introduction to hybrid working Evolving the way we work

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic many colleagues across the business have had to work remotely. 

Everyone has adapted well to this different way of working, though this has not been without challenge. Our technology has enabled us to stay connected, but it is one of our values, Trust, that has really underpinned the success of remote working where appropriate.

Three graduates in our Hook Office working on laptops

As offices and workplaces start to reopen, we have listened to feedback from colleagues about having a more flexible approach to working in the future, as a result we are introducing hybrid working for office-based support teams.

 

"Hybrid working is a modern working practice where employees split their working time between the workplace and a remote location"

 

Some of the key benefits include: 

  • A healthy work/life balance

  • Working relationships founded on trust

  • Improved effectiveness and productivity

  • A reduction in environmental impact

  • Cutting time and stress of travel and commuting

  • Attracting and retaining a wider, more diverse range of talented people to our business

Getting this right will depend on good quality, open conversations across the business. One size does not fit all – each individual, each line manager and each team will have to find the right formula for success.

Black labrador dog being walked by a family

We encourage managers and colleagues to explore opportunities for hybrid working across the business

Our approach to hybrid working

Leading a team that may work different hours in different locations requires a conscious, intentional and collaborative approach. Colleagues are encouraged to take the time to establish new habits and ground rules together to enable success.

Hybrid working means that colleagues, with line manager agreement, can work at any agreed location if they are able to fulfil their duties remotely (whether that be office, on site or home), up to an average of 3 days each week.

Anyone wishing to work away from a Serco office more than 3 days each week will be required to complete a formal flexible working request.

Not all roles will be suitable for a hybrid working model - some teams may need to attend offices on a more permanent basis.

What are the key principles of successful hybrid working?

1. Being more flexible on when, where, and how we work

When deciding what will work best for you, your team and your customers think about:

  • When you can do your work effectively – are there core hours when you need to be available and would there be a benefit to you or the Company in doing some work at different times?

  • Where you can do your work effectively – can you be equally or more productive at home; do you need to be on site for some activities?

  • What combination of when and where will help you be most effective, efficient and responsive?

  • How will changes to your ways of working affect your colleagues and customers?

2. Making sure colleagues feel connected, trusted, and included

To achieve and sustain effective hybrid working, we all need to feel connected, trusted, and included.

Staying connected and building trust

Trust is a critical foundation to working in hybrid teams. Trust is not only important for you, it is important for team output, team cohesion, stakeholders and, individual wellbeing. How we stay connected can create a collaborative and productive working environment that allows us all to be at our best.

  • Stay connected through regular and meaningful communication methods, particularly getting to know each other on a personal level

  • Agree clear goals and responsibilities and ensure follow-ups and feedback loops are in place

  • Ensure everyone has what they need and opportunities to ask if they don’t

  • Agreement of what do to when things don’t go to plan 

  • Find opportunities to celebrate achievements and success

Being inclusive

It is everyone’s responsibility to create the conditions where everyone has an opportunity to share their voice and feel heard.

  • Be conscious if you have meetings where some are physically present, and others are joining remotely – how do you ensure those dialling in are effectively included?

  • Support the team to understand any biases or behaviours that may limit or restrict voice, and how to address them 

  • Stay connected to everyone in your team, even if that’s an informal phone call 

  • Make sure everyone is encouraged to contribute in meetings, so everyone feels included and you beneļ¬t from a diverse range of views

  • Consider how different members of the team can share their strengths and experience with others – helping each other out, so everyone feels both supported and supportive

3. Establishing good habits

To make hybrid working successful, we’ll need to establish good habits, some of which we have learnt from the enforced remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is important to pay close attention to the impact any change can have on our physical and mental wellbeing.

Rethink how meetings are run

Virtual meetings need more concentration and can tire people out. Do you really need a meeting? If you do, here are some tips:

  • Have a clear purpose and agenda

  • Make sure you’re familiar with the technology, so it all runs smoothly

  • Keep it to 90 minutes max if you can; build in comfort breaks

  • Avoid back-to-back sessions and meeting too early or late in the day

  • Make sure everyone is invited to contribute to the discussion

  • Take notes or record for non-attendees to catch up later

  • Don’t multi-task during the meeting 

Email expectations

  • Flexible hours can often mean different response times to emails. How can you develop a common understanding of when/how this could work?

  • Consider open sharing of Outlook Calendars and focus on using Teams or Sharepoint for document collaboration and file sharing. 

Have fun together!

Finding ways for your team to connect more informally on a regular basis is important for building relationships that enhance collaboration.

4. Focusing on both what we do and how we do it

How we assess everyone’s performance and individual contribution doesn’t change when we work flexibly. This includes:

  • Clear, agreed objectives and expectations between line managers and individuals on both what needs to be delivered and how it is going to be done

  • Being specific on outcomes and contributions, is more important than where/when the work is done

  • Equally important is how the work will be done in terms of behaviours, collaboration, and our values

It is recommended, where possible, to have more formal performance conversations face to face.

5. Prioritising your wellbeing

Flexible ways of working can bring real benefits and help to balance/integrate work and personal life more effectively. As we adapt to this it is important we pay close attention to the impact any change can have on our physical and mental wellbeing. 

Here are some tips on how to ensure you look after yourself when working remotely or on site:

  • Eat well, exercise, get fresh air and enough sleep

  • Continue to structure your day, including breaks and social interaction

  • If working remotely, establish a clear division between home and work and make sure your workstation is suitable

  • Ensure you take your full annual leave allowance

  • Pay attention to your mental wellbeing and talk to someone if needed (colleague, manager or the Employee Assistance Program)

    Mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy and relaxation techniques are proven to have a positive impact on your mental health. The good news is these techniques can all be found on the Thrive Mental health app which all Serco colleagues in the UK & Europe have access to.

    Find out how to download Thrive by checking out Serco.Thrive.UK.com where you can sign up with a work or personal email address or by speaking to your line manager who will be able to give you details.

"Our key principles will help you consider how you strike a positive balance between business requirements and personal preferences whether you are leading or are part of a hybrid team"

Anthony Kirby, Chief Operating Officer, Serco Group plc

Useful resources

Please visit MySerco to find more detailed information and guidance on hybrid working, including acceptable use of information systems, key policies and health and safety.

Link to MySerco