So what's new?

What does Smart Working mean?

  • 'Smart working' is the idea that current working practices are outdated.
  • The 'normal' practice of office workers travelling to their place of work, logging on to their computer, putting in eight hours (or more!) then travelling home again is no longer the best way to promote efficiency, productivity and happy people. It disrupts work-life balance and is a waste of time with no real benefit.

What does the Code of Practice do?

  • The Code brings together best practice on smart working from around the world and across disciplines.
  • It aims to support employers using smart working principles, allowing them to benchmark their smart working initiatives against others.

So what will it look like in practice?

  • More focus on job or task 'outcomes' rather than the process, for example, if the task is completed on schedule does it matter that an employee works from home?
  • A realisation that work is what you do and not where you go and a recognition that traditional workplaces are just one tool of many available to deliver work.
  • Promotion of collaboration and flexibility of working styles and methods.
  • More modern office design and emphasis on use of technology to achieve the most efficient way of completing tasks.
  • The Way We Work (TW3) is the Cabinet Office led programme to implement smarter working for the Civil Service and all government departments have now started Smarter Working strategies, calling it 'a game changer for Civil Service Reform.'

Tips for smart working

  • Communication and openness - share your calendar and let colleagues know where you are working from in advance.
  • Save documents electronically as soon as received so your colleagues can access and work with them too if needed.
  • Work on implementing or improving conference call or virtual meeting facilities.
  • Manage performance based on results/outcomes rather than presence.

Over to you... is this the end of the traditional office? We'd like to hear your thoughts.


Julie Keir

Practice Development Lawyer