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Change is like a machine. You need all the cogs lined up to make it happen. Luckily, many of the parts we need are already in place, our business plan and a raft of Council of the Future projects, but one of the most significant cogs is still in production and the key to slotting it in successfully lies in the hands of every manager and team member.

Put simply, if we want the Council of the Future machine to deliver, we have to change our culture. That includes letting go of the traditional notion of an office-based worker who sits at ‘their’ desk in one location working 9-5 for their whole career.

We need to create vibrant places to work, where different teams and services sit side-by-side, collaborating and sharing knowledge and expertise - and we need to enable people to choose when and where they work. It could be across multiple Council locations, at home, in a café or halfway up a mountain … if the work gets done it shouldn’t matter where they are.

It might sound impossible, but modern and innovative organisations have been reaping the benefits of working this way for years, some have taken it further and don’t even have traditional office space. Numerous studies also highlight flexible working creates a happier, more engaged and productive workforce that takes less sick days and has higher job satisfaction – who wouldn’t want that?

But those benefits only happen when there is trust, not just between managers and their teams but between members of each team. Management have to let go and employees need to embrace change and both have to realise "but we’ve always done it that way"’ no longer stands. Simply put, we cannot afford to lag behind any longer.

What needs to happen next is a significant change in our approach to how we work, and Anytime Anywhere, part of the Council of the Future Fit for the Future project, has been created to help make that happen.

Because we deliver a wide range of services and have a diverse workforce, Anytime Anywhere will benefit teams in a range of different ways. Examples include:

  • Enabling BMD workers to take vehicles home and receive their work schedules on tablets. This means they can start and end their working day from home, improving work/life balance and service delivery.
  • Providing a large proportion of office-based employees with devices that enable them to do their job in non-council locations. This could be working more out in the community with service-users to working from home around a personal appointment.

Over the coming weeks and months communication will be produced to initially help traditional office-based employees get a better understanding of what Anytime Anywhere means for them. In the meantime, we ask that you all take some time to think about how you could work more flexibly, including what tools you would need, and speak to your manager to make it happen.