Government Property Unit chief Bruce Mann on how the civil service is celebrating smarter working

How smart is your team? Bruce Mann, executive director of the Government Property Unit, on the importance of smart working and how the civil service is celebrating and supporting teams who want to adopt it

By Bruce Mann

24 Nov 2015

In 21 January 2016 the second annual The Way We Work Awards ceremony will take place at the BT Tower. The awards, supported by BT and Cisco, celebrate the very best in smart working across the civil service, and if your team is good at flexible working then you could be there. 

The Way We Work – also known as TW3 – is about creating a more flexible and adaptable civil service fit for the 21st century. The programme helps people across the civil service to adopt the most modern, evidence-based form of flexible working called “smart working”. 

To do smart working well you need two things: mobile IT, which is gradually being rolled out across the civil service; and committed leadership that empowers people to work from a variety of locations, rather than sitting at the same desk every day.

Enabling Transformation partner zone
A Force for Change: smarter and more flexible working

Smart working is something we should all be thinking about because the benefits are numerous. Evidence shows that it helps to improve productivity, leads to a better work/life balance, better staff retention, and a reduced carbon footprint.

That’s why the best in industry have been quick to adopt the latest smart working principles. This includes Sir Richard Branson, who as one of our private sector partners, provided a personal message during our awards last year.

“We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will,” Branson said. 

Inspiring words, and since last year’s awards we have been working with Virgin, BT, Microsoft and other businesses to turn smart working from an art into a science. We have pulled together best practice and evidence from around the world into a new BSI Publicly Available Standard (PAS 3000) that we will launch at this year’s awards. It defines for the first time everything you need to make the smart working revolution work for your team.

The awards themselves were created to celebrate success and to inspire others. The inaugural awards proved to be an inspirational occasion and really highlighted the great work that’s already underway across government.

Our five winners last year came from a wide variety of teams, both large and small: BIS, DCLG, DH, MoJ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).  Being recognised at the awards has given many of the winners the confidence to build on their success.  

Just take one anecdote from Jonathan Lyle, the chief executive of the DSTL, who believes that smart working is already helping DSTL recruit and retain people with the highly specialised skills it needs, and giving them a better work-life balance.

“Our staff have greater choice in how and where they work, underpinned by a sense of empowerment and trust. It is a real strength that members of the senior leadership team have become early, visible and passionate adopters of these new ways of working, to become more effective leaders. Winning the TW3 Award has given us the confidence to drive forward smart working further and faster,” he says.

So, whether you are doing this really well and want to compete for an award or are just interested in getting started, please get in touch with the TW3 team. We would love to hear from you and we would love to help you change to a better way of working.

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