Following the pilot in the Merthyr Office, flexible working is soon set to be rolled out across the Welsh Government estate. This will represent a significant culture change for staff, especially when combined with the roll out of the new ICT hybrid device.
Flexible working is often assumed to mean working from home. However, most organisations have either used flexible, smart or agile working as their terminology when introducing new ways of working. The Welsh Government believes that ‘smart working’ better reflects what the organisation is trying to achieve, provides scope for future developments and gives a better balance between the benefits to the individual and the needs of the business.
While broadly supportive of the move towards flexible/smart working, PCS has raised a number of concerns. These include the possible blurring of lines between work and life outside work, to the detriment of an individual’s work/life balance. Therefore, we have asked for clarification of what is actually meant by ‘smart working’, so we all understand the boundaries.
There are also health and safety issues to be considered, including that staff will be using the new portable ICT device in a range of locations and settings, increasing the risk of health problems associated with poor workstation design and posture (e.g. repetitive strain and musculoskeletal injuries). We are also likely to see increased levels of lone working, which can sometimes have a negative impact on general health and well-being.
The roll out of flexible/smart Working and the new ICT equipment are exciting developments for staff members. However, both projects need to take account of each other and will require the closest collaboration and consultation with trade union side. PCS has ensured our reps will be engaged in the various project boards, reference groups, local steering groups and the relevant HR policy consultations, to ensure your views and concerns are heard.
If you’d like to discuss any of the above further, then please contact your local rep.