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Benefits from making small changes to the way we work

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Colleagues from the HR and Organisation Development (HROD) teams are part of a pilot programme focused on bringing our Working Principles to life. Called ‘Living the Principles’ it aims to support teams to explore their working practices and implement practical approaches to adopting the Working Principles and improve their work/life balance.

Leah Pears, Assistant Manager – Recruitment, is one of the colleagues involved in the pilot.  She explains how they have implemented some of the Working Principles in the Recruitment Team.

“As a team we manage all staff vacancies across the University. The work is high volume and fast-paced.

“We are all in the office together twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays). We find it helps maintain working relationships and creates a collaborative environment. Some members work part-time, and it ensures all team members get to see each other.’’

Hybrid working has brought many benefits such as flexibility and productivity. However, it's important that everybody’s wellbeing is considered both within and away from the office as much as possible. Leah told us that the nature of  her role means that tasks can come in at the last minute which can lead to team members working late. To combat this, at 4pm the Recruitment Managers ask the team, via Teams chat if anybody has anything they would like support with to ensure they can log off on time.

Leah and senior colleagues noticed that working from home meant regular breaks were not always being taken. As a result, they introduced a lunchtime shout-out to encourage everybody to leave their desk and have a proper break, so they felt more productive in the afternoon.

Leah continues:

Collaboration is key for recruitment to run smoothly. As a team we use the Outlook Task list. It allows us to manage our workload because we can amend and move tasks to another day if urgent actions arise.

“We can tag other team members into our task and use this when we need support. It helps to see what everybody has on and when support is needed. We find it works well for when members return from annual leave as they can see what has been updated.’’ 

In Recruitment, there is a lot to remember, and there are always changes or updates. Based on feedback the team implemented a feature called “Reminders”, which is an email with key updates. The emails are informal to encourage engagement, making it a fun read with memes and gifs. They are usually sent once a week.

Following a recent awayday the team agreed on a number of other Working Principles which would help them and support business needs. These are being discussed at the Living the Principles pilot group to encourage other teams and to share best practice.

Leah said: ‘’From the awayday feedback we have already introduced our first team huddle. Staff said they would prefer an in-person catch-up on Mondays and Thursdays as opposed to our Team calls. This was positive; it was a great opportunity to share work questions but also made time to get to know each other better.”

Leah has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Living the Principles pilot programme. She said:

It has been insightful to learn about different ways of working in addition to sharing the recruitment team's methods. Working together we will hopefully develop activities that we can pilot so that we can lead the way in developing good practices and approaches that can be shared.

If you would like to take part in the next Living the Principles programme or want to find out more please contact lizzie.amies@durham.ac.uk

For more information on the Working Principles and how other teams are adopting them and improving their work/life balance visit Working Principles (sharepoint.com).

The Working Principles are part our Working Well Together approach. It aims to create a working environment which enables better management of workload and has a positive influence on work/life balance. For more information visit Working Well Together - Home (sharepoint.com)

 

 

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