Welcoming Professional Services colleagues back to campus


July 29th, 2021

A message from Paul Greatrix, Jaspal Kaur and Margaret Monckton

Back in April we published our first blog dedicated to Return to Campus planning, sharing how we were establishing working groups to consider a wider return of staff to campus during summer 2021 following the lifting of government restrictions.

We are mindful that some Professional Services (PS) colleagues have been present on campus throughout the pandemic, albeit the majority have worked remotely for a considerable period. Since April, PS staff from all teams have been working hard helping to prepare workplaces, setting up new PS Hubs and sharing feedback regarding returning to campus and what hybrid working could mean for us all, whether colleagues are coming back after a prolonged time or adjusting to more peers returning to campus.

As of Monday 19 July 2021, the Government’s work from home mandate has been removed meaning we are able to welcome many more colleagues from across Professional Services back to our campuses. This represents a significant and positive milestone in our Covid-recovery plan and we hope that you share our enthusiasm and anticipation of this first step towards our future new ways of working.

Bringing our Professional Services teams back together

Returning to campus at scale provides the opportunity to unite all our Professional Services teams and fully re-establish social connections with each other and physical re-connections with our campuses and UoN communities.

As an organisation we thrive on our relationships in a face-to-face context. We strongly believe that on-campus contact remains vitally important. For us as a PS team this means providing the opportunity to network, team-build, develop relationships and support new colleagues and peers. More widely, this means preserving vibrant, energised and inspirational university campuses and maintaining a visible presence to support students and our academic communities. The return to campus for all Professional Services staff represents a key step to more normality in all our working lives.

The safety and wellbeing of staff remains paramount during this transitional phase of hybrid working. We appreciate that returning to campus may evoke mixed emotions for colleagues, all of whom will have had different experiences of the pandemic. Whether colleagues have been working on campus regularly or returning for the first time, we ask PS staff to adopt an inclusive approach and to be to be mindful of the feelings and experiences of others. By adopting this approach, we hope that being on campus will be a positive and engaging experience for all PS staff.

What Return to Campus looks like for individuals, teams and departments

As PS staff move to hybrid working practices from 19 July, (where feasible) this will empower more individuals with more choices about where and when they work to be most productive, in line with the needs of the wider team. Hybrid working will provide a flexible solution for many staff to experience the benefits of spending time both on and off-campus, wherever work is best undertaken, supporting wellbeing and work-life balance. For some colleagues, hybrid working will mean working in their offices or workplaces as normal and for others, this will entail spending time in our newly opened PS Hubs.

Hub working

We’re pleased to share that PS Hubs at Kings Meadow, Jubilee and Sutton Bonington campuses are now open for bookings and our teams are working hard to open further Hubs at University Park later in the summer. We hope you agree that the Hub developments provide an excellent opportunity for PS teams to work effectively and collaborate in shared spaces for the first time. Full details of Hub facilities (including location of nearest gender neutral toilets) and how to book can be found on the Ps Roadmap SharePoint.

Returning to offices

For those PS colleagues already in their normal workplace or who are returning to hybrid working, we have developed a series of supporting material. For staff, there is guidance to help adjust to new ways of hybrid working, advise what activities are best suited to on- and off-campus working and how to conduct effective hybrid meetings. For managers, there is guidance on effective wellbeing conversations and management behaviours and practices. Overall, Directors and their management teams will determine what blend of working is best suited for their specific areas. More details can be found on the PS Roadmap SharePoint.

Opportunities to work differently

This is a really ground-breaking time for all of Professional Services as we have the opportunity to come together and collaborate as a wider PS team in ways we have never been able to previously.

Via staff surveys, roadshows and communication channels, we have listened to your feedback and recognised the benefits of supporting flexibility for colleagues. Via the adoption of hybrid working, we are promoting the movement of staff back to campus in a safe, phased manner and to ensure that we continue to create vibrant and dynamic environments for staff and students. We believe that this transition period will enable us to take forward the best lessons learned from the pandemic and set us on the journey of defining future ways of agile working for PS teams that could really make a difference to us all.

For those who have been on campus throughout the pandemic, thank you for all you have done to support the UoN community. For those returning to campus – welcome back. Thank you to all PS colleagues for helping us to maintain safe but vibrant and lively workplace environments. We look forward to seeing you.

Paul, Jaspal and Margaret

Useful Resources

Wellbeing Resources

Support for staff

Covid safety measures

Health & Safety

Courses

Returning to Campus for PS

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