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We're splitting up... for the right reasons

Time 27 days ago Comments 0 comments

As some of our central offices prepare to re-open on 1 September 2020, this week we have asked our senior managers to start a conversation with all those previously based in Salford, Stevenage, One Southampton Row in London, and Leeds.

Each team will be discussing if, how and when they want to return to using the central office spaces that are available – talking through the new procedures in place, what’s expected from colleagues, and how to best make it work for everyone.

One of the new controls that will be in place to help prevent or slow the spread of infection should a case of Coronavirus (Covid-19) occur in a central office, is split-team working.

It’s a way of working that sees every office-based function/team split in two halves – team red, and team blue. Unfortunately, it may mean that sporting allegiances have to be put to one side for a while…but it’s for a very good cause.

Why do we need it?

Proactively splitting teams puts us more in control of the situation should a colleague have a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19. It ensures that one team can continue working if the other is infected and needs to self-isolate.

How does it work in practice?

All colleagues in the team are designated either team red or team blue, including managers, who can’t swap between the two.

Only colleagues from the same section of the split team can be in the office space at once (and will still need to maintain a distance of two metres from each other at all possible times.)

Team red and team blue can’t meet up in person in or out of work, but can of course continue to meet with each other and the rest of the team virtually.

Who decides who will be on which team, and on what basis?

The most important thing is that our teams are having open and honest conversations about their working preferences, and that we’re reaching a solution that works across the balance of individual, team and business.

Managers are responsible for ensuring each team member is clear on their split team position. They’ll take in to consideration:

  • Business continuity – ensuring we have a good spread of key skills across the split teams
  • Personal relationships – if team members are highly likely to meet outside of work because of a personal tie, this will be considered
  • Who is likely to need to meet up? If part of the team work closely on a project, for example, they may be placed in the same part of the split team

Can I challenge or swap teams if it doesn’t work for me?

It’s vital that you’re honest with your team manager about your preferences, and instances where someone is placed into part of a split-team that doesn’t work for them should be few and far between.

Make sure you discuss any concerns with your manager. If you need to move from team red to team blue, or vice versa, because of a business need to provide support, this can be arranged with advance planning. You’ll need to isolate for a period of 14 days before mixing with the new part of the team.

Splitting heart graphic

Where can I get more information?

We recognise that this represents a new way of working, so we have developed resources to help managers and teams navigate the challenge:

If you’ve got a specific question that relates to you or your team’s use of a central office, you can speak to your manager or local facilities teams.

We’re looking forward to seeing (half of you) you soon!


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