From March 2020, Remote/Home Working for Local Government became commonplace as an impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic and this created problems around devices, broadband capability and a plethora of other technology issues but little was understood about how this exponential increase in remote working would affect staff health and wellbeing.
As part of the MHCLG Local Digital C-19 Challenge Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council, Hull City Council and North Lincolnshire Council were awarded £76,000 for their project ‘Designing future working patterns – a methodology to design new ways of working in a post COVID-19 world, to ensure staff remain safe, productive and develop innovations into future working practices.’
Working with the The Centre for Human Factors at the University of Hull, this new study is looking at the impact on staff working remotely or from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the effects on staff health and wellbeing alongside an increase in efficiency and productivity in the delivery of services to the public.
The project involves qualitative data collection via 32 focus groups (8 for each LA) conducted via Microsoft Teams, enabling consultation with a range of different types of staff across the four LAs. This has meant that the team has been able to capture experiences as broadly as possible across the diverse services and roles. The issues we have been exploring include:
The practices staff have adopted to get the job done since the beginning of lockdown
What staff feel the benefits of working in these ways have been, and the challenges they’ve experienced, personally and professionally
What they have needed, received or provided from a management point-of-view
Communication strategies within and between teams
What they would like to see remain in the future.
Resources available to all Local Authorities and beyond to access include:
Along with some interesting blog posts detailing the project’s journey: FUTURE WORK DESIGN
University of Hull contacts
Director of Business Engagement & Enterprise
Dr Katie Cunnah
Postdoctoral Research Assistant