Hybrid working key principles

Our University Strategy makes clear our shared commitment to putting student success at the heart of our mission, and to world leading research focused on asking difficult questions. As we adapt our ways of working, our focus will remain on the delivery of a transformational education to all our students, and enabling ambitious and impactful research. Within these parameters, we will aim to support inclusive, agile, and flexible working patterns, reflecting the diversity of the work carried out across the University.

We will nurture and celebrate these shared commitments as a campus-based community, generating energy and strengthening belonging from the in-person experience of studying and working in a campus-based, living and learning community.

Our commitment to hybrid working is underpinned by core principles that will ensure we can realise the benefits of this approach. Decisions about hybrid working will be made in a way that reflects and enables these principles.

The How we work at Essex – Hybrid Team Working Principles and Review (.docx) outlines the context, overarching organisational principles and hybrid team working principles that managers and colleagues should follow in their decisions about hybrid working.

Delivers excellent education and excellent research

The positive impact that each of us can make and the outcomes we achieve is paramount.

We will be creative and receptive to how and where that impact may be achieved wherever possible, encouraging people to experiment with different ways of working within the institutional parameters we have set. We will be sensitive and responsive to the potential for our ways of working to have a negative impact on others.

Promotes our status as an inclusive, campus-based community

We want everyone to contribute to an innovative culture of collegiality, collaboration, and teamwork.

Our community is built on collective and collaborative working: even if an individual’s work could be undertaken successfully from a remote location, our commitment to fostering a strong culture of belonging and inclusion would mean that we still expect our colleagues to spend a proportion of their working hours on campus, so that they can be immersed in our shared ‘lived experience’ and have face-to-face opportunities to mix with colleagues and students.

How this works in practice, and the balance of time, will be determined locally by managers in conjunction with their team members, within the parameters of the institutional framework.

Supports the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of our students and staff

With boundaries between work and home life increasingly blurred, it is important that we are all mindful of our wellbeing and take positive steps to manage our health across different locations and styles of working.

Balances trust and accountability

Instilling a sense of accountability/ownership and giving people the agency and trust to do their best work is not only in their best interest - it’s good for delivering our strategic goals. Performance will be evaluated on the impact made and the outcomes delivered.

It is about new ways of working using new tools, new processes, and new approaches to management, teamwork, and collaboration. This requires different types of behaviours and different expectations about how work is done. We will support managers by building their skills and confidence to manage their hybrid teams most effectively.

Maximises agility

We recognise that change is constant and always with us and that the future of work will require an adaptable approach.

We will harness systems, working spaces, and technology, to offer the best options for delivering our work in the most effective ways.

Prioritises communication

The importance of good communication remains key, and we will continue to adapt our ways and styles of communication to suit these new ways of working.

We will offer support and guidance to managers and colleagues to ensure great communication and collaboration takes place across our teams, and encourage the development of ‘Team Charters’ to adapt and enhance communication and the use of meaningful but light-touch check-ins with each other.

We will also invest in technologies and collaborative spaces that will help these new ways of working to be successful.

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