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Hybrid Working

Supporting our ways of working

The intention of this page is to support you in applying consistent logic to hybrid working that balances organisational need, local need and individual choice in line with our ways of working. The package includes guidance, self-directed support and development opportunities.


What is our new approach to ways of working at the University?

When we talk about ‘ways of working’, we’re referring to the common understanding and principles which shape our working practice and our new ways of working website explains the approach in detail.

On the website you will find guidance and support to determine the most effective ways of working for your area, in line with our agreed University approach. We recognise that one size does not fit all and so this guidance has been developed to provide best practice advice which you can apply to your School/Service.

Hints and Tips;

We have produced some useful hints and tips to support you as and when specific issues or topics might arise.

As a starting point, read about where to start when thinking about managing remote working (PDF).

Having undertaken a number of surgeries with managers on the topic of remote working some key tips emerged from the managers themselves. One good starting point could be the managing remote working guidance (Opens in Sway), produced by OD&PL.

Our working from home tips (PDF) - This guidance provides a number of tips, some of which might suit you and your team, some of which might not. These should be viewed as a pic-an-mix selection of tips around the themes of working with purpose, being adaptable, being efficient, and having a focus on wellbeing.

Holding a crucial conversation (PDF) - Not all conversations are crucial, and not all crucial conversations are difficult. However, in terms of hybrid working, there are myriad reasons why someone might want to, or not want to, work in a hybrid manner, and therefore a crucial conversation may be required. A useful model to use might be the STATE Model.

Hybrid team development (PDF) - When thinking about teams it is important to start with the recognition that your teams needs will be varied. As a leader it is your role to manage these varied circumstances to ensure you treat everyone fairly. In a hybrid context this is particularly pertinent around proximity bias.

Hybrid and dialogical meetings (PDF) - This document offers some recognised good practice approaches to hybrid meetings to get the best out of them, and to minimise proximity bias.

Questioning techniques (PDF) - Garbage in, garbage out, is a popular truth. If you ask the wrong question, you'll probably get the wrong answer, or at least not quite what you're hoping for. Asking the right question is at the heart of effective communication and coaching. So here we offer some common questioning techniques. By consciously applying the appropriate questioning, you can gain the information, responses and outcome that you want more effectively.

Action learning and exploratory questioning (PDF) - Action Learning is a practical hands-on group-coaching methodology focused on real ‘live’ current issues. It is exploratory and NOT about advice giving. It is about deep listening, listening to ask the appropriate questions. This is a form of dialogical communication that is useful for peer-to-peer learning and enquiry based meetings.

Influencing positively around hybrid working (PDF) - Influencing is when we help someone change their thinking and behaviour with the intention of achieving a mutually beneficial, positive outcome. We may change our own thinking and behaviour as a result of having a better understanding of their need. At the end of our interaction, we both feel an inclusive and collaborative approach has contributed to this beneficial outcome in line with the Universities values. There is no hidden agenda!

Collaboration and hybrid working (PDF) - To make collaboration work there needs to be a humbleness and a level of trust that all parties will approach the situation with the same desire for the ‘best option’, to get the best outcome. It is important therefore we build trust on the one hand, and our own humbleness on the other. These are things that can (and should) be done remotely, in a hybrid context, and in face-to-face situations.

When leading change (PDF) - Not all change is difficult. Indeed most change is transitional over time and goes unnoticed. But when change is intentional and often time-sensitive there is a need to lead and direct the change to get the desired impact. As we progress towards a hybrid model of working, this can be seen as a challenge for some, while others will relish it. There is unlikely to be any ‘one’ reaction, and no one-size-fits-all, so it is worth bearing in mind some key change models and the University's People and Change Approach to help you lead your team through this change period.

Understanding your own and others personalities and behaviours PDF) - There are numerous psychometric tools. But any psychometrics is only a snapshot of how you are presenting yourself right now. This does not fix you to being a specific way forever. It does however show what your ‘default’ behaviours are ‘likely’ to be at the time of completing the assessment. The use of psychometrics can help you understand yourself and your team, and help you enhance your communication within your teams and with others, especially as you navigate hybrid working.

7 ways leaders can develop their hybrid skills (PDF) - This is a useful article from People Management which emphasises that while hybrid working is here to stay, managers must get to grips with a hybrid style of leadership to ensure their teams are productive and as effective as possible. This entails the power to connect, listening, communication, mindset, context, learning and the environment.

Self-Directed Support

Browse the following resources to support you and your team to get the best out of remote / hybrid working, such as:

University resources

Additional resources

See our extensive LinkedIn Learning collection around remote working, and managing virtual teams, as well as;

In addition, these LinkedIn Learning collections focus on digital transformation:

Browse our growing collection of digital wellbeing resources on Wakelet.

Colleagues can also access a range of webinars from Pearn Kandola, a leading business psychology organisation specialising in equality, diversity and inclusion.

And see virtual team-building games PDF by Michelle Cummings

Useful links from the University of Manchester as part of the UHR Annual Conference 2022;

Development Opportunities

There are a number of specific and generic development opportunities to support leaders and managers, and their staff, navigate hybrid working.

Specific training developed to support Our Ways of Working:

Holding crucial conversations around hybrid working

Holding crucial conversations around hybrid working provides an overview and an introduction of how to have crucial conversations focused on the theme of hybrid working. The session covers what makes conversations crucial, and offer a framework that can be used for having more effective conversations. There will be an emphasis on self-reflection which will look at what we can do to get ourselves in the right mindset for having crucial conversations and how to have a balanced view when facing these situations. The workshop will require participants to bring examples of where they might struggle, or have struggled in the past, with holding crucial conversations.

There are currently no available dates for this session, future dates will be advertised on this page.

Hybrid team development

The Hybrid team development session provides an overview of the key elements to developing an effective hybrid team. It will offer time to consider how you can utilise these key elements with your team to agree relevant actions to work most effectively together, as well as looking at your own leadership behaviours and how these may assist in the development of your team, especially in relation to the four stages of forming, storming, norming and performing. The workshop will require participants to bring examples of where they might struggle, or have struggled in the past, in relation to the four stages.

There are currently no available dates for this session, future dates will be advertised on this page.

Coaching in a remote/hybrid context

Coaching can be highly effective in the remote environment and this session equips managers with some tools/techniques to support our ways of working. The Coaching in a remote/hybrid context session will help you understand different remote options, apply the ToGROW Model, and recognise and use appropriate questioning approaches. Additionally, this session will help you understand how beliefs support or limit the results we can achieve, and apply some basic questioning techniques to raise awareness. The workshop will require participants to bring examples of where they might struggle in a coaching context, especially remotely.

There are currently no available dates for this session, future dates will be advertised on this page.

Holding hybrid dialogical meetings

Hybrid meetings can perpetuate proximity bias. So how can we minimise, and if possible, eliminate this form of bias? The Holding hybrid dialogical meetings session will help you understand some of the practicalities of holding effective hybrid meetings, and some of the barriers. It will help you understand and use a dialogical approach which restores the value of people by emphasising listening and responding to the whole person and their context. This is less about the issue and more about ‘being with’ the person and their situation, which aligns to the Universities values.

There are currently no available dates for this session, future dates will be advertised on this page.

Generic development opportunities that can support hybrid working:

An Introduction to having Difficult Conversations 

This An Introduction to having Difficult Conversations session will give an overview and an introduction of how to have difficult conversations in all types of scenarios. It will cover why do we need difficult conversations, what can make conversations difficult, and a framework will be introduced that you can use for having more effective conversations.

Self-care and self-organisation for flexible or hybrid working

The self-care and self-organisation for flexible or hybrid working session sits within the Personal Resilience Suite of Workshops to support staff with the challenges of transitioning to new ways of working and living as we come through the pandemic. It will include exploring theories of adapting to change, flexibility and choices for personal/professional effectiveness and self-care with different versions of hybrid working.

ISSIWAW role based competencies

The ISSIWAW Role based competencies workshop is aimed at all leaders and managers within the university who have direct line management responsibility for colleagues. The workshop introduces good practice examples and psychological models for supporting staff wellbeing; utilising case examples to give managers the confidence to effectively handle instances of stress or mental health amongst their team members. 

Role based competencies small group discussions

The role based competencies small group discussions is designed for leaders and managers who have previously attended "ISSIWAW Role based competencies". It provides an opportunity to further explore specific issues around supporting colleagues.

Using psychological perspectives

The using psychological perspectives workshop is to provide leaders and managers with the opportunity to explore how an understanding of psychological models can help illustrate how leader’s behaviours can be best modified to achieve successful outcomes at work. It is designed to provide an impetus to create new momentum for change, as well as helping participants to understand the need to analyse/select behaviours at work and how this may be accomplished. Specific reference is made to the potential challenges of hybrid working and the peculiar behaviours which may manifest themselves.

Working with change and uncertainty

The working with change and uncertainty workshop provides an introduction to how change and uncertainty affects us in different ways emotionally and psychologically. A chance to explore and develop self-awareness of how our individual responses might impact upon our personal and professional lives. It will help you to recognise signs of the change process and consider ways to maintain balance in the face of uncertainty. Specific reference is made to the potential challenges of hybrid working and the peculiar behaviours which may manifest themselves.

Discovering your leadership programme

The discovering your leadership programme is for colleagues whose role requires the input and collaboration of others. You may have limited/some knowledge or experience in applying leadership skills or have infrequent opportunities to connect theory to practice. The programme will be particularly beneficial for colleagues who are aspiring leaders or leaders who are new-to-role. There will be a focus on understanding fundamental leadership competencies, enhancing self-awareness, and creating collaborative working relationships. There is a requirement to complete activities in between sessions as you will be working as a supportive learning cohort.

Establishing your leadership programme

The establishing your leadership programme is for leaders who are just starting to find their feet in a new leadership role but still feel in transition. The programme is to help leaders make sense of their early experiences, build on their growing understanding of their leadership strengths and start to apply skills in team building, cross-university collaboration and leading through uncertainty.

Leading transformational change programme

The leading transformational change programme programme is for established leaders (who are at least 12 months in role and are responsible for leading a change initiative) and will focus on planning, accelerating and embedding change effectively. The workshops will help leaders make sense of their transformation challenges currently and ahead, take steps to connect with and influence others on that journey and learn how to successfully embed cultural change.