Here at the Co-op we want to support our colleagues to do their best work, have a good work life balance, work flexibly whilst staying connected, and get the job done.

We know that for many of you, where, how, and when you work has changed radically because of the pandemic. Your expectations about what work looks like have also changed. We have listened to your feedback. We know that choice and flexibility are important to you and that what works for some won’t work for others.

The purpose of this policy is to set out a framework for keeping the good bits of working flexibly whilst looking at how our office space can support everyone to stay connected and work in their best way.

This policy won’t work for or be available to everyone. It will depend on the kind of role you do, the part of the Co-op you work in, the level of supervision you need in your role, any minimum levels of physical cover required as well as the technology and environment you have available to you.

Crucial bits

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working gives you more choice over deciding how, when and where you work best in a way that balances the needs of Co-op, your team and yourself. It’s about giving you more choices about how you do the right work, in the right place, at the right time. It offers a mix of working remotely, at home and working in an office environment. Where, when and how you choose to work might depend on the task you are doing and the kind of role you have.

If you are looking to permanently change your work location, work pattern or the hours you work please use the Flexible Working policy instead.

Key principles of Hybrid Working:

  • It’s based on trust. We trust you to choose the best times, places and technology to match the work you do, your personal preferences and to balance this with your own needs and the needs of your team.
  • It is open to everyone who has a suitable role regardless of how long they have worked for Co-op. This also includes contractors and temporary agency workers who are working for us.
  • We commit to making sure that you have the right technology and equipment to support you to work in this way.
  • Work is an activity and not a destination. Your performance will be evaluated on the impact you have and the outcomes you deliver
  • Hybrid working should not impact the level or quality of service to customers or your colleagues.
  • The Co-op Code of Conduct and Social Media policies apply in every location you work from
  • Community and connection are part of who we are at Co-op and we know they are important for your wellbeing. We will continue to provide safe office spaces for you to collaborate and connect with each other.
  • We know that there might be times when being onsite is crucial, such as when you first start working at Co-op or have started a new role. At these times we would encourage you to make the most of visiting the office to familiarise yourself with the facilities and onsite support we have available.

Some key things to remember about hybrid working at Co-op:

  • It won’t work for or be available to everyone. It will depend on the kind of role you do, the part of the Co-op you work in, the level of supervision you need in your role, any minimum levels of physical cover required as well as the technology and environment you have available to you.
  • Hybrid working will not be available for those who need to be on site to do their jobs (customer facing colleagues in Stores or Funeral homes or Logistics operations)
  • Working in this way will not change your contractual terms and conditions of employment in respect of working hours or normal location of work; it’s an informal arrangement that may be changed from time to time depending on business needs.
  • The expenses you can claim will be unchanged
  • It’s not the same as a flexible working agreement. If you want to make a more permanent change to your hours, location, place of work and/or hours of work/working pattern, you will need to request this separately through our Flexible Working policy.
  • Hybrid working may be considered as a reasonable adjustment
  • Your manager will work with you to explore how hybrid working could work for you and your team based on your preferences, the needs of your role and the needs of the business.
  • Just so you know, we will always try to support this way of working if we can and if your role is suitable. However please remember that any hybrid working arrangement is subject to the ongoing agreement of management and sometimes might need to be changed for business reasons.

Things to think about

Working Hours and Keeping in Touch

We want to empower you to flex the times you work so you can balance your home life around the needs of your role. We trust you to manage your own time and make sure you do the hours you are contracted to do. However, there are some important things we would like you to be aware of:

  • You should expect to make yourself available to others during reasonable working hours when you are needed by your team.
  • We may ask you (with enough notice) to be available at certain times to meet the needs of the business, to physically be in the office to collaborate or attend training.
  • Flexing your working times should not result in extra work for other members of the team or compromise the objectives of your team.
  • If you choose to work late during unsociable hours, please be courteous and respectful to your colleagues. Your colleagues are not expected to respond during unsociable hours.
  • Just so you know you won’t be entitled to any overpayments or overtime if you choose to work unsociable hours or more hours than you are contracted to do.
  • We know that modern life is complicated and that working in this way can help you balance your home and work life. However, Hybrid working is not suited as a way of managing Emergency Leave or for long term childcare if it has a significant impact on your ability to carry out your day to day role.

Equipment and Environment

It is important for us to know that wherever you are working from, you have the equipment and environment you need to do your job well and that you are safe, well and comfortable.

Display Screen Equipment

If you are setting yourself up to working remotely or at home, you will need to complete the Display Screen Equipment learning you have been assigned. The learning will take you through a workstation self-assessment to help you make sure that your place of work is safe, supportive, free from risk and that any access to confidential information or data is treated with care.

Colleagues working remotely or at home must ensure they have a secure, private and appropriately lit and heated space to work in, with a reliable and secure internet connection. For more information about Display Screen Equipment policies and keeping yourself and the Co-op safe please click here.

If you are working from a public place, please be mindful of any potential confidentiality or IT security risks. To read more about keeping any Co-op information safe and confidential please click here.

If you have a disability and need any reasonable adjustments to be made to your workstation whether in the office or in another location, please let us know. We have a separate guide for Reasonable Adjustments that it would be helpful to read.

Just so you know, if any equipment gets lost, damaged or stolen, you will need to let your line manager know as soon as possible

If you are working from one of our Co-op offices or sites please make sure that you know how to evacuate the building in the case of an emergency and that you have completed the fire safety training assigned to you.

How to order Equipment

If you need any extra equipment to help you do your job, click here for information on how to order workstation and IT equipment. Please discuss any technical or supportive equipment requirements that you have with your line manager before ordering.

Your Wellbeing

We know that for many of you, working in this way can boost your wellbeing, however there are still some important things for you to be aware of:

  • It can be easy to lose track of time and work more hours than you usually would when working remotely. It is important that to remember to take regular rest breaks; at least 20 consecutive minutes if working for 6 hours or more and make time to switch off. Working in this way should not significantly change how many hours you usually work.
  • Hybrid working should not be used as a way of carrying on working when you are sick. If you are ill, then you would need to take time off until you have recovered and follow our Absence Policy.
  • Where working for long spells at a screen make sure you take regular breaks away from your screens.
  • We know that collaboration, connection and having a sense of belonging can help you stay well. We encourage you to think about what this means for you and to actively make time to connect with your colleagues. To find out what support the Co-op offers to support you wellbeing visit our Wellbeing Hub.

Costs and Expenses

Your contractual normal location of work won’t change when you adopt a hybrid way of working so your entitlement to claim will remain the same. For more information you can read the Travel and Expenses Policy.

We will provide you with workstation and IT equipment that you need to be able to do your job - just click here. Just so it’s clear, you won’t be able to claim expenses for any equipment that you buy yourself. All workstation and IT equipment needs to be ordered through Co-op channels.

Just so you know, any costs for wifi, heating, lighting and electricity and commuting costs to your designated place of work will always be a personal expense in line with HMRC guidelines.

We would advise that you check that there isn’t anything that would prevent you working from home, for example in your mortgage agreement, lease or insurance. You should also get confirmation of cover from your home insurer should work equipment cause any damage to your home.

If you are an Essential Car User and your business mileage reduces significantly as a result of hybrid working, we may review whether you continue to be eligible for a car. If we do make any changes, we will always give you plenty of notice.

Working Outside the UK

We are unable to support colleagues working from outside the UK unless it’s necessary for specific roles. This includes both short- and long-term arrangements and requests for permanent relocations outside the UK. This is due to the potential for complex legal and tax implications, associated potential risks and costs that this presents to our business. As Covid travel restrictions ease so does the need for emergency or exceptional overseas working. Any current colleague arrangements that include overseas working must be reported via this form for review.

If you need further support

Remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.

If managers need advice they should contact ER Services.