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WorkSmart, the future of working life at Leicester, launches next month

On Monday 2 August, the University will officially open the doors to a new work space for staff in its central Professional Services - a move that signals the start of a new way of working at Leicester.

When COVID-19 forced staff to work from home back in 2020, it proved to the University that it could continue to operate and work efficiently wherever staff were based. Staff were able to readjust their work-life balance, spending less time and money on commuting, and enjoying greater flexibility in their working days. For the University, it meant a higher focus on performance and outcomes. It was a win-win situation, and a working style that the University has decided to adopt beyond COVID-19.

Our name for this new style of working is WorkSmart. WorkSmart brings people, processes, technology, time and place together to find the most flexible, effective and efficient ways of working. It involves working differently, focusing on performance and outcomes, as well as behaving differently. It involves trusting and empowering employees to support their work-life balance in a transformational way. The new space on the ground floor of the University’s iconic Fielding Johnson building will enable staff in the University’s central Professional Services division who qualify for WorkSmart to have an innovative and exciting space to work when they want or need to be on campus. Comprising of individual desks with a range of equipment, including accessible equipment, as well as meeting rooms for teams to come together, the WorkSmart space has been redesigned to create an environment that motivates and sparks creativity, while also feeling comfortable and safe.

Kerry Law, Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer and the WorkSmart project lead said:

“Until recently, most universities have operated in a very traditional way, preferring all staff to be office-based. Although we’re not the first to move to an agile working model, we’re really pleased that we can give our staff more flexibility to manage their working day whilst maintaining high levels of performance and providing great experience for our students.”

Emma Stevens, Interim Director of Human Resources said:

“The wellbeing of our staff has factored greatly in the planning for WorkSmart. We’re mindful that the introduction of WorkSmart will provide staff with the opportunity to manage the balance of home and work-life in a more flexible way, however this may not be the case for everyone.

“We’re supporting our managers with how to effectively manage a WorkSmart team, we’re helping teams decide how they want to work together both remotely and on campus, and we’re responding to individual issues that staff have. Every team has a different remit, different outputs and different individual needs, so we are engaging with teams to ensure this transformational approach to how we work, works for everyone.”

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