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DIO’s Smarter Working Programme and the benefits to our employees

Category: Flexible Working, Flexible, Working from Home, ministry of defence, remote working, MOD, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, MOD Guard Service, DIO, flexibility, smart

Flexible Workimg.

DIO embarked on its Smarter Working journey in July 2017, to transform the dated and traditional working environment ways of working for employees. Fast forward to today, the team has continued to transform the way that DIO operates

To deliver this, the team worked collectively with employees across all levels of the organisation both at home and overseas, to design and develop a change plan that would be well received by employees who were already engaged by and ready for the change. 

The current and long-term needs of DIO, it’s people and its customers have been central to the design of the programme and the solutions it has delivered.  We have highlighted some pertinent examples below to demonstrate some of the enduring work we’ve delivered.   

The Benefits

To meet the current and future need for flexible and remote working, all desktop computers have been replaced by laptops.  70% of our new mobile workforce now feel they achieve a ‘good work life balance’ and we’ve seen this figure increase year on year since the introduction of smarter working.  The onset of the Coronavirus in 2020 has served to strengthen the robust business continuity plans DIO already has in place.  Employees already have the tools, freedom and flexibility to work remotely, with virtual working being the norm; business will continue as usual. 

For one employee, the adoption of Smarter Working has transformed her life.  She loves to work but is also a full-time carer for her husband at home.  The freedom and flexibility in our new approach to work allows her to do the things she loves whilst supporting her loved ones.  This is just one pertinent example of how Smarter Working principles and technology is supporting the wellbeing of our employees.

As the DIO Disability Champion, our Smarter Working Programme lead has been working closely with DIO’s Disability Network to ensure all accessibility concerns are considered within the programme plan.  Change is difficult for many groups of people, most notably those with Autism, Asperger’s and anxiety-sufferers. We recognised this and with the support of line managers, took a carefully planned approach to tailor the introduction of any changes with the individuals concerned.  Examples of how we did this include: a tailored introduction to the new workspace by sharing designs/images, showing individuals the new chairs and desks and letting them try them out before implementation and even walking them through floorplates during refurbishment. 

From a ‘Place’ perspective, we have provided height adjustable desks, modifiable screens, alternative storage options and improved office chairs that are more closely aligned to Display Screen Equipment guidelines. The needs of employees who require reasonable adjustments have been addressed through spacious open-plan office designs and the introduction of meeting and quiet booths that accommodate wheelchair users. Historically, those with a disability or requirement for a workplace adjustment would have had to wait for an internal assessment before their needs could be accommodated.  Now, all employees’ needs are met within the new workspace environment, with no additional adjustments or support required. 

In terms of the ‘Technology’, we provided voice recognition software to specifically support dyslexic users and tailored devices to support individual disabilities, such as keyboards, lighter laptops and iPads. The neuro-diverse needs of employees have also played an important role in our office designs, leading to the creation of quiet working areas and in some instances the provision of noise cancelling headphones. 

We have clear evidence to suggest that the Smarter Working Programme has created a more open and trusted working environment within which disabled employees feel comfortable and confident to make themselves known, voice their concerns and that effect actions will be put in place to address these.  Since March 2018, we have seen a 21.4% increase in the declaration of disabilities.  Improved visibility of our employees’ needs allows us to ensure we find ways to cater for them. 

The work of the DIO Disability Network has led to the introduction of a MOD-wide ‘hidden disability’ lanyard, which will help to highlight employees that may need additional support or flexible working arrangements.  Within the SW programme we plan to establish ways to effectively support these individuals to ensure we attract and retain our SQEP employees. 

We are not stopping there! Lots more is planned for the short and distant future!

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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