Could I work Smarter in my Role?
Imperial College supports Smart Working. As well as supporting working practices that enable employees to balance work better with the rest of their life, there are business benefits from doing so also.
So when thinking about working more flexibly, it’s really important also to think about how a different work pattern can work well for the business, for example by helping you to be more productive and make better use of your time.
Smart Working is about integrating flexibility into everyday working practices
The first steps in investigating whether and how you can work in smarter and more flexible ways are:
- Analyse the activities involved in your work using the 7-step approach to deciding the where and when of work
- Have an open and honest conversation with your manager and colleagues using the top tips for managers: having conversations around Smart Working
- Use our Thinking about yourself and your work checklist [link to resource T20] to think about any issues that may need to be addressed if working at different locations and different times from others in your team or that you need to work with (e.g. customers and suppliers).
Limitations around flexibility
There are sometimes constraints around the types of flexibility that may be appropriate for different kinds of work. These constraints are often down to factors such as:
- The hands-on or site-specific nature of many work activities
- Security needs – both as regards access to data and access to particular work areas
- The provision of or availability of support and emergency services at specific times
- Technologies available for working remotely
- The evolving deployment of new technologies and new workplaces.
For some people, the potential for flexibility may quite limited given the nature of all the activities that make up their role. However, our approach is to encourage people to think innovatively about how different activities within a role may be amenable to different kinds of flexibility.
Where work is very location-specific, there may be possibilities in varying the time patterns of people’s work. This, of course, is subject to not compromising the work or putting the additional workload on colleagues. In many organisations, this kind of flexibility is arranged through agreements within the team.
The main thing is not to find the least flexible element of your work, and make that the default position for all work activities, many of which may be much more suitable to be carried out at other places and times, according to need.
A single culture for Smart Working
Whatever degree of flexibility and mobility people have, it is important that there is a single culture of Smart Working.
This means, for example, being able to work with the same expectations around the nature of meetings and have everyone using the new collaboration technology.
More substantial change of working pattern
Some people may be looking for a contractual change to their working pattern, such as moving to part-time or becoming primarily home-based. For this, you should check out the College’s Flexible Working Policy.