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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Why you should consider entering the Smarter Working Live 2020 Awards

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: A great place to work, Civil Service Learning, Smarter working

A sheaf of Smart Working, Your 10 point checklist, documents

Nominations for the Smarter Working Live 2020 Awards are now open.

Emma Deeny, external communications lead for the Government Property Agency (GPA), recently spoke to past winners Victoria Nowell (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport - DCMS), George Ford (Defence Infrastructure Organisation - DIO), Matt Brennan (Ministry of Justice - MoJ) and Dave W (GCHQ), to find out a bit more about what winning has meant for their organisations and why you should enter.

Here’s what Emma learned.

What made the teams enter in the first place?

For DCMS, MoJ and GCHQ, they entered primarily to showcase and celebrate their successes and to recognise how far they’ve come in their ‘smarter working’ journey; while for DIO it was more about helping others by sharing their story, including challenges and successes, to help enable other organisations to adopt a smarter way of working.

What has winning meant for their organisations? 

All agreed winning has not only been beneficial in terms of gaining recognition for the success of their teams, it also has helped each of the teams improve awareness of smarter working internally within their organisations. 

However, for Matt and his team at MoJ, it went further than recognition – it highlighted, in his words, “the importance of working beyond our own department and contributing to making the Civil Service a great place to work”. Since winning, MoJ has been approached by and helped a number of departments with their smarter working approach and continues to share best practice through its GPA business partner.

Would they encourage others to enter Smarter Working Live?

All four organisations agreed it was definitely worth entering the awards – not only for the recognition and chance to celebrate the hard work and success of teams, but also for the opportunity to learn from others and share approaches and ideas. George at DIO described the importance of gaining a different view of how such challenges have been dealt with in other organisations; while Matt from MoJ explained that hearing how departments and programmes have implemented or embedded smarter working is “fundamental in helping drive forward the change”.

What are their top tips for those wanting to enter?

‘Impact’ is a word that came up frequently.

While Victoria’s advice is to “make your entry short and fun with lots of pictures”, George advises you to commit time to your submission, highlighting how you’ve dealt with barriers and resistance. Matt believes you should tell your story through real-life case study examples. And Dave’s top tip is to focus on what is the unique challenge your organisation faces and “how, through the various lenses of smarter working (operational benefit, business benefit and individual benefit), we have addressed that”.

More broadly, what’s their advice for an organisation starting out on its smarter working journey?

The advice from DCMS is to involve as many people as possible and communicate well with a combined bottom-up and top-down approach. DIO recommends seeking guidance and support from other organisations, as many will have already implemented successful change programmes, as well as building a strong stakeholder network.

MoJ think the key is to place smarter working at the heart of your people offer, building principles not rules, and break down barriers. And the advice from GCHQ is to have a clear vision of where you are heading, baseline your starting point, and ensure you have a governance structure with a senior champion.

Entries for the awards close on 28 February, with the shortlist announced in April. The awards will be presented at the Smarter Working Live conference at Manchester Central on Thursday 2 July. 

More information on the awards and categories can be found here. GPA will be posting about the awards on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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