Students Staff
University of Essex

August 13, 2015

Staff question of the month

Filed under: Networking & Collaboration — Tags: , , , , — Karen Bush @ 9:57 am

Question of the month for August 2015back-bend

This month we are looking at flexible working. Answer our third question of the month to tell us about your experience of flexible working at the University.

Your replies will be anonymous and help to inform the development of our new suite of work/life balance policies.

Last month’s question

Last month we asked you identify when you feel the least pressure in your workload.

  • 35% of those who responded indicated that August was the month they felt the least pressure,
  • 19% said it was December and
  • 18% said the whole year was pressurised – there was no let-up.

These results may not reflect your experience so we encourage you to review your personal yearly calendar of work, identify the peaks and troughs and consider whether can you move any tasks into your quieter periods. Try to plan your schedule of work as much as possible, plan when you will take leave and make sure you take your leave. Did you read our time management advice?

Those with responsibility for a team may also want to look at your team’s workload over the year – is everyone busy at the same time? Do team members know what peaks and troughs in workload their colleagues experience? How do these peaks and troughs fit with those of the wider department/section and those of the people/departments/sections you work with? The 2015-16 calendar is available to support your planning. Support is also available from your HR link person in assessing work demands as part of your Departmental Stress Assessment.

How will the University help?

We will introduce electronic workflows for as many processes as possible by the end of 2015-16 to reduce the time spent by managers on HR-related administrative processes.

We will facilitate more opportunities for interaction between different groups of staff,  and encourage cross-functional and cross-disciplinary working, to increase understanding of different roles and the contribution they make to the University’s success.

We will help staff to prioritise between the important and the urgent, so that workloads are more easily manageable.

We will create an integrated support network of HR professionals to work with managers to build capacity and resilience in teams experiencing change or challenges.

Through the workload management project we will look at; merging the processes for gathering information for a number of University-wide activities (e.g. research plans and outcomes, annual review, appraisal) into one; building on the University’s Research Repository to extend information storage; implementing a new electronic document management system for storing personal information e.g. for annual review, which can be updated directly by individuals without the need for constant re-writing of applications.

As ever, we are keen to hear your thoughts, so please do send them to


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