Work-Life Balance Action Plan

Introduction

The purpose of this action plan is to outline action that will be taken by the Directorate of Human Resources in partnership with Trade Unions and the Administrators’ Forum over a period of 12 months to implement the recommendations formulated in the work-life balance audit report, in order to improve current practices. The main findings of this report were presented last term to Staff Joint Committee, to the Board of Governors’ Employment Committee, to the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Group and the report recommendations were approved.

Since then the Directorate of Human Resources has made a successful bid with the NATFHE Branches and with the Administrators’ Forum to the DTI for grant of £ 40,000 to work together to implement the recommendations and develop and develop best practice.

Action to be taken

The overall aims of the action devised in this plan are to develop a best practice approach to work-life balance in partnership with Trade Unions and the University Administrators Forum, in order to improve employees’ job satisfaction and performance and the recruitment and retention of staff. More specifically this action plan intends to achieve the following main objectives, as identified by the report recommendations:

Improved communication of existing policies and practices. To communicate clearly and effectively the university commitment to work-life balance and to raise staff awareness and knowledge of university policies and flexible working arrangements available to them to balance work and personal life. Action to be taken:

  • Making information fully accessible to all staff as well as to job applicants through a user-friendly brochure and through a section dedicated to work-life balance on the university web-site.
  • Provide training to the Schools’ and Directorates Equal Opportunity and Diversity Co-ordinators to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge to offer support and advice on work life balance issues.

Review and development of existing work-life balance policies. To review current University policies that support work-life balance to ensure that they match staff needs and to extend their scope wherever appropriate in order to promote an inclusive notion of work-life balance for all. Action to be taken:

  • Setting up a working party in partnership with Trade Unions and the Administrators’ Forum to undertake a review of relevant policies and formulate new policy proposals.

Staff development. To ensure that there is consistency in the way that all line managers implement university policies and practices that support work-life balance, and to encourage them to develop innovative approaches to flexible working. To enable all staff to contribute towards the development of a work-life balance ethos and to help them to find effective ways to balance their paid work with personal life. Action to be taken:

  • Running a series of focus groups with line managers to discuss current use of flexible work, possible extension of flexible working arrangements, and to share innovative ideas and good practice.
  • Mainstreaming work-life balance policies and issues via their inclusion in the existing university management development programme, induction programme for new staff and the core staff-training programme on equal opportunities and diversity.

Sharing good practice. To disseminate good practice across the University. Action to be taken:

  • Running a series of seminars for managers to consider internal examples of good practice as well as examples from other Higher Education Institutions and local employers.
  • Compiling an on-line good practice guide providing university based examples as well as relevant examples from other employers, to be used by line managers and other interested staff as a resource on the implementation details of work-life balance policies and practices.

Intended outcomes

It is intended that the above actions will lead to the following outcomes:

  • Clearer information on university work-life balance policies and practices that is easily accessible by all staff.
  • Improved understanding of work-life balance issues and a better response to staff needs within Schools and Directorates.
  • New policies expressly supporting work-life balance.
  • The adoption of a more participative management style leading to greater staff involvement in the development of practices leading to improved work flexibility and efficiency.
  • An embedded culture of work-life balance for all throughout the institution.

Staff involved in carrying out the Work-Life Balance Action Plan

The delivery of the action plan will be overseen by the Director of Human Resources. Other staff to be involved:

timetable of activities (Word doc, 127 KB) is available.

Simonetta Manfredi
9/10/03

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