The objective of these webpages is to provide all stakeholders a guidance to understand what Smart Working is, what it provides and how the smart working environments are to be utilised. This includes the etiquette of interacting both with the environment and the other occupants. In addition to the benefits of Smart working, how we have achieved this, enabling Smart working through Flexible working and the key objectives of Smart working at Imperial. We have also put together a summary of the key principles of Smart working; Organisational, people and space scope; as well as the administrative support available to you.

Smart Working

A business and people focused approach to flexible working that delivers better efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery and organisational agility, as well as benefits for working people. It achieves this via modernisation of working practices while providing improved work environments and benefits for the employees.

Key features are:

  • management through results,
  • a trust-based culture,
  • high levels of autonomy, flexibility in the time and location of work,
  • new tools and work environments,
  • reduced reliance on physical resources, and
  • openness to continuing change.

Smart Working at Imperial web pages provide more information as well as an extensive Smart Working Toolkit for managers and staff members.

Flexible Working

Types of working arrangements, which give a degree of flexibility on how long, where, when and at what times employees work as defined in College’s Flexible Working Guidance. These should be used as guidance of work patterns to enable Smart Working. The owner of “flexible working” process in the College is Human Resources.

To clarify the relationship between the two terms, Flexible Working is a set of working practice arrangements in place to help deliver Smart Working.


The objective of Smart Working in Imperial College is to deliver better quality services while managing the inputs as efficiently as possible by incorporating and harnessing the benefits of increased flexibility and organisational agility via introduction of positive changes to working practices, working environments, processes, technologies and organisational culture.

In short, the objectives are:

  • Increase productivity while managing resources as efficiently as possible;
  • Harness benefits of flexible working;
  • To foster a better sense of community and belonging.


The College is committed to providing a supportive environment, where flexible working can be of benefit to both employees and the College. Smart Working takes a strategic and business and people focused approach to flexible working, combining benefits to the employee with benefits to the College and benefits to the environment. We aim to do this by adopting a strategic rather than a reactive approach to workplace flexibility.

Space is NOT to be allocated on the basis of seniority, habit or personal preference, except where a particular use of space or work tool is required for one of the following reasons:

  • Reasonable adjustment for staff with special needs or due to health and safety reasons,
  • A specialist function that requires a particular location or tools.

Some of the current adjustments in place based on the above criteria are:

  • Staff members, who need to use a raising desk or a dedicated special chair have priority of their use. Clear desk policy also applies to these desks and they will be made available for others to use when they are away.
  • Reception area is allocated to the use of Office Support Assistant carrying out reception duties.


Organisational and people

All employees, contingent workers and casual workers of the College are in scope. Students are not normally allowed to use the workspaces. The guidance described in this document apply to everyone using the workspace. Native users are responsible to assist guests with the guidance etiquette.

Physical space scope

4th Floor of the Sherfield Building excluding the area occupied by the Occupational Health Team.

Administrative support

Administrative Lead is responsible for the smooth running of the smart working environment with the assistance of their team. The team works together to promote community engagement principles, e.g.:

  • fostering a sense of community and belonging among the staff members;
  • planning for and launching community initiatives to foster connections and relationship between staff and departments;
  • acting as the first point of contact for any issues / disagreements and resolves them quickly and in a manner that diffuses tension;
  • overseeing new staff members arriving by introducing them to the community guidelines as part of their induction.
  • providing smile and energy to the staff members and visitors.

The team also carries out activities related to the maintenance and management of the workspace, e.g.:

  • maintaining all space operations to the satisfaction of staff members;
  • ensuring cleanliness and everything being in working order;
  • handling mails and deliveries, etc.


The following references and resources have been used in building this Smart Working guidance: