Case studies of teams using flexible working

Read examples demonstrating the successful use of flexible working at the University.

Corony Edwards

We needed to move the EQE team from two offices (one in Laver and one in Northcote House) to a single location in the Old Library. It was important for the team to be co-located and we needed to release the space we were occupying in Laver for a team of academic staff. We knew that the new space would be smaller and there would not be enough space for the whole team to have their own desks.

We worked with our HR Business Partner and Advisor to discuss how we could use flexible working to help us manage the new space. We offered our team the chance to work compressed hours where they worked slightly longer days but every two weeks had a day off. About 25% of the staff opted for the compressed working arrangement, and by carefully allocating which day they took off, we have been able to manage the work space to ensure that there are enough workstations available each day. We also worked with Exeter IT to provide laptops and docking stations for all team members, making it easy for staff to work at any workstation. We now deliberately swap round rooms on Mondays to allow all team heads to share one room for a day a week, reducing the number of scheduled meetings we need as we can catch up informally during the day.

We piloted the compressed working arrangements over 12 months and we tracked the experience of our staff through surveys at the beginning, middle and end of the pilot. Our evaluation indicated that there was no negative impact on our service delivery and the team were positive about the impact of compressed hours on their working and personal lives.

Corony Edwards, Head of Quality & Enhancement

Jacqui Marshall

The HR Services team has a base of 45 staff on the third floor of Northcote House. When I started as the HR Director, the third floor had no meeting rooms, was mainly cellular offices and we had no kitchen or social area for the team. Our Employee Services team was split over two offices meaning that our payroll and administrative staff worked very separately.
The HR team was growing and we needed more space. Northcote House is a tricky building to renovate but the Estates team managed to design a new space for us that included introducing a single large office to enable greater collaboration for the Employee Services team. The rearrangement of space meant that we could introduce a much-needed meeting room on the third floor as well as an informal meeting space which uses cleverly designed sofas to muffle the conversation. The best bit of the renovation is that we now have a fully-equipped kitchen with space for our staff to eat their lunch and socialise with each other. It has made a real difference to our team.

We have a number of part-time staff in the team and some who regularly work from home or other buildings or campuses and so we have several measures in place to help us manage our desk space effectively. Our part-time staff usually share desks and we have two hot desking areas for our more mobile staff, like our HR Business Partners. There are still some smaller offices on the third floor and our staff occupying those are very flexible about allowing others to use them as meeting spaces when they are not in.

We have recently made even more space to accommodate our growing team by introducing e-document management and so have archived thousands of employee files and they are now all online.

Jacqui Marshall, Deputy Registrar & Director of People Services and Global Partnerships