The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted and reinvented the way most of us work. Our hybrid working policy is enabling colleagues to choose the best working style for them. We spoke to some of our colleagues to find out how they're making the most of hybrid working, balancing family life and having more time to explore their local area.
Flexible working has allowed Kirstin, People Resourcing Manager at Sustrans, to spend more time with her children. ©Kirstin Crabbe
Embracing new ways of working
As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted and reinvented the way most of us work.
This has included increased levels of remote and hybrid working across the UK.
Something which we at Sustrans have decided to continue, and explore the benefits of, as life starts to return to normal.
We launched our hybrid working policy at the start of 2022.
It enables and supports our colleagues to work at locations which best suit their lifestyle and working style.
Instead of attending one traditional office space every day, most of our colleagues can now work in a range of locations on different days and at different times.
This includes working from home, at another suitable location, or at one of our 'hubs' across the UK.
Hubs contain a mixture of spaces, including DSE compliant hot desks, informal meeting and working zones, and a range of different sized private meeting rooms.
This means colleagues can work at a desk, have face-to-face meetings with their team, host visitors and meet colleagues from around the charity.
Our Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh hubs have been the latest of these exciting spaces to open their doors.
Taking back valuable time
Kirstin Crabbe, People Resourcing Manager at Sustrans, has personally benefitted from the hybrid working policy:
“I love the flexibility that our hybrid working gives me, having spent 13 years working full-time in an office and relying on grandparents to deal with my young family.
“I felt my children were being let down as I was always missing out on school events or playdates because I was tied to an office elsewhere and wasn’t there to speak to other parents.
“The last few years have proved we can work flexibly.
“As an organisation, it’s refreshing to have that trust in your colleagues and to roll out a policy which takes into account those who wish or need to work in an office and those who don’t, in a fair way.
“I am more motivated and productive working from home.
“I like that I have a choice to go to the nearby hub in Edinburgh should I wish to.
“Not having the pressure of a commute is also enjoyable as I can now deal with work and my children in a less stressful and much more manageable way.
“This new way of working is a breath of fresh air.”
George Pollard has been working at Sustrans since 2013.
George, Workplaces and Neighbourhood Cycling Officer at Sustrans, used to have a four-hour round commute from his home in Northampton to the office in Leicester, five days a week.
Thanks to our hybrid working policy, George now works at home for the majority of the week.
The time he used to spend on public transport is now spent with his children. He said:
“I used to commute by bike and bus five days a week.
“Now I only do this once a week on average.
“This has freed up a lot of time and being able to spend more time with both my children every day has been very positive.
“But it's probably had the most impact on my son.
"I'm now playing table tennis with him every day.
“All the practice has made both of our games much better.
"Annoyingly, he still wins most of the matches, I think he's secretly looking up techniques on YouTube.
“This has given him more confidence at school as he can compete with his peers.”
George has been able to spend much more valuable time with his children. ©George Pollard
Lyndsey Melling, IT and Systems Project Manager, been working at Sustrans for nearly two and a half years.
Lyndsey has been making the most of shopping locally and feeling immersed in her neighbourhood while working from her home in Bristol. She said:
“I live walking distance from a high street but was only able to make use of it at weekends before the pandemic hit, so I still had to use the car to do a big shop.
"Now I’m spending more time working from home, I can nip out in my lunch breaks and just buy what we need.
"It’s been lovely getting to know the people who run the local shops and becoming a "regular".
"A deli has opened just around the corner which has a milk machine.
"I take my glass bottle down every other day, and fill it with milk, and normally buy a couple of other nice things and have a chat.
"It’s a habit that would have been unthinkable when I worked full time in an office.
"I’m lucky that I have a nice space to work from and amenities at my doorstep, but I hope more people working in this way will provide a market for small business to spring up.”
Lyndsey has been able to support local businesses in her lunch breaks while working from home. ©Lyndsey Melling
Harry Hayer, Executive Director of People and Organisation Development at Sustrans, said:
“During the pandemic, managers and colleagues across Sustrans provided incredible support to their teams, at a difficult time for many.
"As we exited the sequence of restrictions across the UK, we wanted to continue to support colleagues in how and where they were working.
"Our approach to hybrid working is highly flexible and designed to provide colleagues with a blend of solo and collaborative working, at locations that suit them, their manager and their team.
"We will be carrying out our first review of the Hybrid Working Policy during the summer, which will enable us to learn from the experiences of colleagues across Sustrans.
"Similar to our vision, we want the places that we work from to be happier and healthier for everyone”.