Demystifying smarter working

Demystifying smarter working

We have all been a part of the rapid acceleration in the transformation of ways of working. How, where and when we work have evolved at a pace no one has experienced before. This evolution has allowed a spotlight on smarter working practices.

Put simply, smarter working empowers us with choices about how, where and when we work. Underpinned by culture, ethos, process and technology, smarter working is about optimising ways of working and enhancing working environments to generate greater productivity, simplify processes and realise cost savings through efficiencies.

With organisations across all sectors racing to join the smarter working journey with more intensity than ever before, the momentum is also creating a community of misconceptions around what smarter working is.

We’ve looked at some of these common misconceptions to demystify smarter working:

Misconception Reality
“Smarter working is just better technology” Technology is an enabler for improved processes and greater productivity. But technology alone will not achieve the shift in ethos and culture required for a department and its people to truly experience the benefits of smarter working.
“I can’t afford to implement smarter working practices” Smarter working is a journey made up of many attributes. Each department’s journey is unique with options to support budgets, timeframes and appetites.
“I don’t have time to implement smarter working practices” The shift to smarter working does require collaboration and commitment. Qualified practitioners can work with you and your team to identify opportunities and implement improvements. They will simplify the change process and allow you to continue to focus on your core business. And there is a wealth of published resources available online to everyone, including playbooks and toolkits.
“It’s all just a fad, and time will show it doesn’t improve productivity” Smarter working was first recognised within the UK government in 2004. Since then it has evolved into a core business need and a driver for efficiency and cost savings. It allowed the Civil Service to react immediately to flexible working needs during the pandemic, and is helping to keep Britain working during the industrial strikes.
“Smarter working just means flexibility in where you work” Smarter working enables flexibility no matter where you work, allowing you to use the most suitable space for your activity. Without the ethos, culture, processes and technology that underpins smarter working, flexibility would not be available.
“Smarter working is about squeezing more people into fewer offices” Smarter working is key to achieving a smaller, better, greener government office estate. It offers choices in where and how to work. Smarter working offices provide a good variety of spaces to suit different tasks and needs. The data is showing us people are using these choices to work from different locations and spaces, which is enabling greater productivity and wellbeing, and is improving overall workplace experiences.
“Smarter working doesn’t apply to my role, so I don’t have to do it / I don’t have the opportunity to do it” Smarter working has many elements, and not every task within all roles will be supported by all elements. But it empowers everyone with choices, whether that applies to them individually, as a team or within the wider organisation.
“Smarter working principles go against my individual preferences” Smarter working practices empower people to choose how, where and when they work, depending on their role and the outcomes they are trying to achieve. It is breaking down the one-size-fits-all approach to allow people to work in a way that fits them while still meeting organisational policies, processes and requirements.

The Government Property Agency has been leading the Civil Service transformation since 2018 by supporting government departments to implement smarter working practices. So far, we have supported 30 departments to achieve smarter working maturity. This means these departments have provided demonstrable evidence of how their people and culture, leadership, technology and workspaces are supporting, advocating and role modelling smarter ways of working.

To find out more about how you can join the smarter working journey, contact our dedicated team at [email protected]

UK’s experts coming together for Smarter Working Live Conference

Together with our event partner, Gov News Direct, we’re bringing the UK’s experts to your screens for one day to discuss how smarter working practices have evolved into a core business need. This free to attend, virtual event on 1 March 2023 will focus on three themes:

  • Learning – what is the data telling us about how workplace experiences are evolving through smarter working?
  • Thought leadership – hear from and take part in discussions and activities that deal with smarter working hot topics
  • Future – expert, data-backed predictions about how smarter working practices will continue to evolve and how we successfully embed them into our working lives

View the full agenda and register now to secure your place.

Warm up to the Conference with bite-size workshops

Join our 45-minute workshops throughout February to deep-dive into tightly-focused topics, such as continuous improvement; the value of data; collaborative communities; digital transformation and improving spaces.

Source: GOV.UK

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