A ‘touchdown area’ has been created at the council’s HQ building but staff won’t be spending their days playing American football or entering the space race.
Touchdown is the name for a new hot-desking system for senior managers at Cheshire West and Chester Council to encourage flexible working through leading by example. The council claims none of its top bosses now have a dedicated desk, not even chief executive Steve Robinson.
Mr Robinson wrote in staff magazine In Touch: “If you’ve visited the fourth floor of HQ in recent weeks, you will have noticed that the leadership team has adopted a new way of working. They no longer have their own desks, instead there is touchdown space with 12 desks shared between 17 people.
“The idea is that the team leads by example, working in a flexible way, sitting with their teams or at whichever location they happen to have meetings on any given day. The principles of flexible and mobile working are really important to our organisation. It’s all about working in the most logical way and at the most convenient place, saving travel time and costs, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our services.”
The council was recently shortlisted for the prestigious award of ‘Council of the Year’ and was judged ‘excellent’ following a Local Government Association assessment in terms of the authority’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
Mr Robinson, who thanked staff for their hard work in 2014, added: “There is such a lot of good work taking place across the council and in many areas we are leading the way nationally.“
He cited the council’s nationally-recognised Integrated Early Support Service as an example of its good work.
Consideration of the most appropriate working style for a job is now an integral part of the recruitment process, all new job descriptions, and office moves.
Some staff work from home, others use laptops on the move, ‘flexible workers’ move between departments while traditional office staff are located in one place.