Agile working Appendix 2

Frequently asked questions

You’ll find lots of FAQs that may be helpful to you on our Return & Resume hub, but here are a few that relate specifically to this toolkit.

We expect this toolkit to be primarily for Strathclyde colleagues in Professional Service areas or in support posts in faculties. Colleagues who already work at times and locations which suit them, other than teaching and student support duties, may continue to work flexibly so long as Departmental attendance parameters are met.

Agile working is fluid and informal. It requires flexibility, for example when organisational or customer needs change or when other team member’s needs change. So, for example, if you want to be able to drop off and/or pick up your children from school a few times a week then agile working could allow for that. However, if you need certainty that you can have a particular day off for child care purposes or need to reduce from a full-time output, then this may be more appropriately dealt with under Strathclyde’s Flexible Working Policy rather than through the more fluid, adaptable arrangements available through agile working.

When the University is fully open, we realise that some staff will want to continue to work in the way they did previously e.g. Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm in their office. That will be absolutely fine. Until that time, you should continue to work from home on your existing arrangements. It may be that some or all of your colleagues do adopt agile working but, when we return to the University, they will still be in the office some of the time and you will be able to work together to organise meetings and communication between you.

As far as possible, if required, it we will supply you with IT equipment which is portable and can be used in more than one location e.g. laptops and docking stations rather than desktop devices. However, if you need additional equipment on either site so that you have a comfortable and safe workstation e.g. an additional monitor, and where it would be difficult or inconvenient to transfer this between sites, your department will provide this or cover the expense for you to purchase this, within reasonable limits and where this is agreed in advance.

At all times, we should be mindful of our obligation to be responsible with our use of the University’s finances and should follow relevant procurement guidelines. IT equipment paid for by the University remains the property of the University and should be handed back should your employment end.

On-campus roles don’t lend themselves so well to agile working. It may be though that you and your manager are able to agree a more flexible working arrangement, usually this involves reducing the number of hours you work or an alternative working pattern. If this is of interest, please talk to your manager.

Many staff on Academic Professional roles will already be working agilely. For those who are not, the opportunities outlined within the toolkit are available. Individuals in roles with no set number of contracted hours should discuss outputs required with their line manager and how these might be achieved at a time/location which suits the individual, team and the University.

Assuming you have the tools, understanding and experience to undertake your duties productively, you should speak to your line manager if you are not able to achieve required outputs in your contracted hours. Similarly, if you are continually able to achieve your outputs in less than your contracted hours, this should also be discussed so that you may be given appropriate additional work to support your team members. A significant and regular deviation between the volume of expected outputs and contracted hours, regardless of whether colleagues are working agilely or not, needs to be discussed and resolved. At all times, for both the success of the University and the enjoyable working life of the staff member, it is important that a good balance of productivity is maintained for the hours staff spend at work.

Agile working arrangements will need to take account of the needs of the department as well as the needs of other team members, so it may not always be possible to agree to your specific requests. You may need to be flexible and open to alternative options to find a solution that works for the team as whole. If following discussion with your line manager, you are not satisfied with the outcome then you should discuss this with your Head of Department or alternatively contact a member of the HR Team.

It is important to ensure that risks arising from health and safety hazards whilst working at home (or agilely away from the workplace) are controlled. When you are working at home, you are required to complete the Homeworking Checklist, and also read and sign a General Risk Assessment for Home Working (which can be amended to suit any agile working situation). These completed documents should be provided to your line manager to review, and to follow up if there are any concerns. 

There is no increased risk from DSE work for those working at home on an agile working principle. Whilst a Display Screen Equipment (Workstation) Assessment is not required, staff are expected to adopt the same principles at home as used on campus with regard to setting up a suitable workspace, the Homeworking Checklist will help with this. 

Further information on health and safety considerations for homeworking can be found on the Wellbeing & Working from Home Hub, and on the SHaW Homeworking webpage.

Contact your HR team by emailing humanresources@strath.ac.uk and we’ll arrange to call you to discuss your thoughts and concerns about agile working.