Future Work Design - Tools to support Staff Wellbeing

A Talk by Eddie Niblett
Project Lead, East Riding of Yorkshire Council

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About this talk

Funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) Local Digital Fund, Future Work Design is a two-phase mixed methods project that aims to understand and manage stress risks in local authority settings so that work can be properly designed to ensure workforce health and sustainability.

Phase 1 consisted of the development of a stress risk assessment tool for remote and hybrid workers in local authorities, based on in-depth qualitative exploration of emergent stress risks in the first year of remote working. Phase 2 addresses Phase 1 findings through a quasi-experimental study testing how effective a digital tool designed to aid productivity and healthy working practices can be in supporting staff wellbeing.

Partner local authorities said that the work had: significantly raised organisational awareness of key stress risk issues, helped fill a significant knowledge gap amongst the leadership team, led to a refresh and re-design of key organisational strategies. It also led to the production of guidelines and documents to protect staff wellbeing and informed programmes of work to support workers and managers. Across these organisations, over 10,000 staff have been positively affected by this. One of the partners saw a 100% increase in staff accessing the Employee Assistance Programme in the months following the roll out of the survey and phase 1 impacts – evidencing an increased awareness of mental health and proactive management of wellbeing at work. The team is committed to ensuring the scalability of the work nationally, and to maximising the benefits for local authority employees nationwide. In a recent survey of Heads of HR in the East of England conducted by the Local Government Association, 72% of respondents said that they had used the Future Work Design project resources evidencing the impact this work is having nationally.

The aim of the award-winning 'Future Work Design' project was to provide partner Local Authorities with timely information about the experiences and perspectives of staff regarding the changes to working practices. Local Authorities reported a lack of preparation in unprecedented times and significant challenges with transitioning to agile working. There was a commitment to assessing the impact of these changes on staff. The findings of the research would be used to inform the design of future working practices and consider the kinds of resources, training and support that staff and managers may need to support them in developing healthy and sustainable working practices for the future.

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