In March 2020 in response to the government’s “stay at home” message, we encouraged those staff able to work from home to do so where possible in order to reduce footfall to the site to reduce the risk of Covid-19. Our position on this is unlikely to change before March 2021. This means that remote working, including from home, and virtual working on-site will be the case for the foreseeable future.
It is through the compassion, skill and dedication of CUH staff that we have been able to continue to deliver excellent care for patients in this challenging time. Part of that has been thanks to the flexibility of staff in embracing home working and continuing to provide services remotely to support those whose roles require them to be on site.
CUH intends to build upon the remote/home working changes that have emerged so far through the Covid-19 pandemic. We also want to embrace the changes in working practices for the future to modernise our approach and to offer additional flexibility and choices where we can.
- We encourage managers and teams to collaboratively discuss new ways of working, and to think innovatively about the challenges and constraints we continue to face, (social distancing guidelines, office space, and IT resources).
- Managers, with their teams, are asked to continue to review what needs to be undertaken in the workplace, what can be completed remotely, as well as how they can continue to support services that remain on site where working remotely is not an option.
- All meetings, conversations and training should be held remotely/virtually unless they are essential and cannot be undertaken in any other way than face to face (with social distancing in place).
- Any reasonable adjustments for staff with disabilities or health conditions covered under the Equality Act 2010 must also be applied to homeworking where appropriate.
We know that remote working does not suit everyone. Some individual working styles may not lend themselves to lone working, or home environments may not be suitable, and therefore managers will need to be responsive and consider enabling individuals to work on site in such circumstances.
We are keen to ensure that all staff are able to contribute to providing a service to patients, whatever their role and that every employee can see their contribution is valued regardless of their place of work.
Please watch this short film that summarises our approach to supporting homeworking during the pandemic: https://vimeo.com/472572027/c4311eef10
Benefits of remote working
There are some longer term benefits of remote working:
- Office space: more staff working remotely may produce solutions to limited space on site. We will review developments with remote working and how this reduces accommodation pressures and capacity issues.
- Flexibility: as part of improving flexible working options for those roles that can work off site to create a better work/life balance for our staff.
- Going green: Helping the environment by reducing the need for commuting and car parking.
- Social distancing: Remote working can also be considered to support social distancing requirements, including workplace re-configurations, the rotation or cohorting of staff, and enabling self-isolating staff to continue to work.
Accessing and hosting virtual conferencing facilities
CUH has enabled a range of conferencing software and other remote communication tools that support us to have meetings and deliver training virtually.
Further information about the appropriate use of the various video conferencing tools that we have access to is available here. We advise using Zoom for team meetings and support guides for using Zoom can be found here.