What modern ways of working is about
Our modern ways of working project is looking at how we will all work differently moving forward, regardless of your role in the council.
We need to make sure that we design and implement the right flexible working model for colleagues working at the council that ensures we continue to provide high quality, flexible services for our residents and communities.
Watch the video to find out more about modern ways of working and what the project involves.
We'll provide regular updates for all colleagues as the project progresses.
Why change is needed
The pandemic has created many challenges and the way in which employees have dealt with these challenges has been outstanding.
The changed circumstances have meant we have needed to embrace ways of doing things we would not have thought possible before the pandemic.
Our rapid mobilisation of homeworking at the start of the pandemic was one of these significant changes and the way in which we dealt with this was a real achievement for all concerned.
Since that time, there have been many benefits – the overwhelming majority of staff who can work from home have reported a significantly improved work-life balance, there has been a real impact on our climate change and carbon reduction efforts and many of us have moved to a technology-enabled way of working, away from a fixed desk, office-based way of working.
As we anticipate emerging from the pandemic, we want to ensure that these positive new ways of working are maintained into the longer term.
Having made the changes, we need to capture the benefits and ensure we are responding to the views of colleagues about working from home, making sure we are ready to respond to any future implications of COVID-19 and to continue to contribute to our carbon reduction pledges.
Through the employee survey, the overwhelming majority of employees who were asked to work from home told us that they would like to retain a degree of home working in the future.
We've also held a number of workshops with colleagues who volunteered to be involved in the Modern Ways of Working project and similar messages have been fed back to us directly through this forum.
But not everyone finds working from home beneficial to their wellbeing and it's important that we all focus on both our mental and physical wellbeing.
If you have any concerns or need support with your wellbeing please speak to your line manager. A range of wellbeing support services are available including the employee assistance programme and the Thrive Mental Wellbeing app. If further support is needed, your line manager can refer you to occupational health for specialist advice and support.
Line managers are encouraged to consider flexible working options where possible to allow your team members time to support their physical and mental health. This could include taking a walk during the day or attending wellbeing training and support sessions.
You and your team are welcome to consider more creative approaches to the way you work, like using mobiles instead of being tied to Teams to enable colleagues to walk or move while having discussions. It's important to support each other and have regular catch ups with colleagues using Teams to replace the informal chats that naturally happen in an office environment.
Buildings and offices
Our property objectives for Modern Ways of Working are:
- ensuring that we have the right buildings in the right place to support excellent and dynamic service delivery
- creating the right kind of flexible spaces that work effectively and efficiently for everyone who uses them
- being ambitious and enterprising in how manage our buildings to maximise value for money, income and savings
- strengthening partnerships to support colocation, co-delivery of services and more resilient communities
- responding to the climate change agenda by reducing our carbon footprint
Like many other organisations, we are finding that we can continue to provide excellent service from a smaller operating footprint if our employees are working in a more flexible way.
The work we'll be undertaking over the coming weeks and months will inform our future operating model and building needs by understanding how we want to work and what kind of spaces we need to support the activities we'll be carrying out when we're in our buildings.
No decisions have been made yet to close any buildings as a result of the Modern Ways of Working workstream.
As part of our Corporate Property 2025 strategy we're reviewing all of our corporate property assets to ensure that they're fit for purpose and that we have a plan in place for their management. A number of buildings have been prioritised for review, for example, because they cost us a lot to operate or they're no longer the best option for service delivery. As an example of this work, a decision was made to vacate our space in The Arc in Bolsover and we've been working with the teams affected to relocate them to other buildings.
Expenses incurred while working from home
Colleagues who are working from home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week, may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs.
Supporting our commitment to carbon reduction
We're aiming for net zero carbon emissions from our estate and property by 2032. As part of our rolling programme of asset reviews, we have prioritised buildings which are poorly performing and costly to run, with energy performance being used as one of the benchmarks. We'll then be able to make informed decisions around whether to invest to improve them, or to dispose of them. We're also looking at innovation for our future estate, how we incorporate sustainable technologies and consider the lifecycle costings for all of our buildings.
We also need to reduce travel to, from and between workplaces and switch to energy efficient methods of transport.
More information about what we're doing to tackle climate change is available on our website.