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Creating the 'Agile Worker' - The Staffordshire Place Project

Creating the 'Agile Worker' - The Staffordshire Place Project

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Creating the “Agile worker” – The Staffordshire Place Project Staffordshire County Council Having created an opportunity to realise significant property savings, Staffordshire County Council also saw an opportunity to use the project to take forward their innovative “one council” transformation programme. The concept of the ‘Agile Worker’ was devised and proactively managed to create efficiency and cultural changes well beyond the immediate project and which created new skills for staff and profound changes as to how they are managed. The concept of the ‘Agile worker’ is to make the location where staff deliver outputs and, in many instances, even when they are delivered irrelevant. The benefits the council has created through a complex mix of ‘hard’ project management and ‘soft’ people leadership skills are: Greatly reduced property costs A breaking down of departmental ‘silos’ A cultural change towards new ways of working and flexibility Improved productivity and efficiency Greater emphasis on key performance issues Reduced management time Better work/ life balance for staff Reduced travel time and pollution Such success and change does not come easily and the project team, managers and staff have all had to learn new skills sets and behaviours to ensure that the potential benefits were achieved
Tags: workforce future workforce agile worker future councils staffordshire
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FM
Former Member 8 Years Ago
Does anyone else have 'agile workers'?
HD
Heidi De Wolf 8 Years Ago
We have introduced an Agile Working Policy and have written agile working into our People Strategy. We do have more work to do on selling the benefits of Agile Working to our managers though as part of wider cultural change activities across the Council.
FM
Former Member 8 Years Ago
Hello Heidi - It would be good to hear how agile working progresses in Lincolnshire and to the responsiveness of managers.
HD
Heidi De Wolf 8 Years Ago
Suzanne, As you might expect the reactions from Managers are varied. Some managers are happy to fully embrace agile working, while other managers less welcoming of agile working. The variety of reactions too stems from the differences between services. Areas such as call centres will have to implement agile working in very different ways than less customer-facing services. We have had and continue to work hard on improving technologies that better support agile working, not always a smooth road but the commitment to continuous improvement is vital. Since we have written agile working and flexibility into our organisational culture commitments, it has become easier to have more open discussions with managers about what agility means in each of the service areas. As one of the organisation's Support Services we are ensuring that though the commitment is agile working, we support management teams to explore what it means for them and not opt for the 'one size fits all'. Are you finding any specific challenges where you work? Heidi
FM
Former Member 8 Years Ago
Here at the LGA we are trying to promote new ways of working to encourage employers to prepare for the future and consider what their future workforce will look like, so it's good to hear from councils who are already on the road to doing this. Thank you for your comments and we would be keen to share your learning with others who are interested.
FM
Former Member 8 Years Ago
Interesting article about Staffordshire - thanks for sharing. I have a question about how health and safety matters were addressed. Here in Luton we have encountered a probelm in that both the Corporate Health and Safety service and Occupational Health have counselled against use of laptops in locations other than our town centre hot desk hubs and there will be no control on how long staff will be using the equipment in one go, leading to potential RSI or posture problems. The agile working project is taking a more flexible view, but has now put on on a collision course with our health and safety lead for the organisation. I'd be interested to find out how others have addressed this. Regards, Paul Adams, Luton Borough Council
FM
Former Member 6 Years Ago
The key is about understanding the issues and ensuring the "devices" are appropriate for the settings in which people work. Much of location independent/ agile working is about trust and responsibility. For agile working to be effective there must be appropriate support mechanisms - this is about management direction, processes and training/ learning that enables the employee in the activity - this includes communication, health, safety and security amongst other things. Implicit in trust based organisations comes responsibility - both the individual and the organisation. The focus should be on creating understanding of the issues and the opportunities with agile working, and providing the tools and direction of required behaviours and activities. However we should remember that sometimes Policies become "bureaucratic cages" that are too prescriptive and prevent effective and innovative working - Guidelines may be more appropriate.
FM
Former Member 6 Years Ago
A very interesting article about genuinely disruptive innovation. As it was written over a year ago, do you have any further thoughts and updates? For example, have you found that many other councils have followed your lead? Thanks.