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Human Resources

Management Support Guidance

Guidance for Managers: Hybrid Working

This guidance is not prescriptive but aims to support Managers in adapting their approach to meet local business needs.

Managing by Outputs or Outcomes


  • Outputs refer to the quantifiable results of a person’s work;
  • Outcomes refer to the impact of that output, or the difference it makes to those affected by it.

For example: the output of a project might be a new process for responding to student queries. The outcomes of that project may be shorter waiting times and increased student satisfaction. There may be many different outputs which could result in a particular outcome.

Outcomes or outputs?

In many cases, the aim is to manage by outcomes.  Just because a certain output has been achieved, it doesn’t mean it will have the outcome that is required. Managing by outcomes allows staff to decide how to achieve those outcomes; they decide on the outputs, and the steps necessary to reach them.  

However, sometimes outcomes can be difficult to measure, or will take a long time to become measurable, in which case shorter term management via outputs may be needed – although the longer term aim is always to seek to measure and evaluate outcomes.

It is recognised that Managers and team members will not have as much face-to-face time in the hybrid working model and as a result, managing by outputs/outcomes is imperative.  Managing by outputs/outcomes allows individuals the independence to decide how they will carry out their work and avoids ‘micro-management’ of the entire process.

Managing in this way needs trust and confidence in the staff member’s ability to achieve the agreed output or outcome.

This approach doesn’t mean that the manager can’t or shouldn’t have any input into how outcomes/outputs are reached. For example, there may be University processes that need to be considered, or suggestions from stakeholders. This is something that the manager and staff member might want to discuss and agree on, with the staff member taking the lead in that discussion.

It is advisable to discuss outcome, or output-based objectives in the context of the SMART objective model:

  • Specific: How exactly is an outcome being defined: what is going to be different, and how? How will the outputs contribute to this? What would a successful outcome look like - can you describe it?

  • Measurable: How can the outcome be measured? What is the current measurement (the baseline) against which this will be measured after the outputs have been delivered? Can we benchmark against other departments or institutions?  If the measurement is not quantifiable, how can we know the outcome has been achieved?

  • Achievable: Is this a realistic outcome or output? Might other teams or areas need to be involved? Are there other factors which might impact on the outcome?

  • Relevant: Is this outcome related to the work done by the team or area? Is it related to the broader strategic objectives of the department/faculty/school?  How does it link to Strategy 2030?

  • Time: Objectives should have a deadline. For regular activities, you should consider how long they should take to complete (e.g. respond to e-mails within 24 hours, provide student feedback within 1 week, etc.). If the objective will take a long time to complete, it’s helpful to consider a series of milestones for delivery.  How often will these be reviewed?

Developing a culture of established regular 1:1 meetings with team members will enable managers to establish the mechanism to review work outcomes and outputs as required and provide the necessary support to ensure agreed objectives are achieved.

If there are performance issues e.g., a member of staff is not meeting expected objectives, these should be addressed through setting expectations, regular reviewing of objectives, and giving feedback in regular one to one meetings.

Wellbeing in a Hybrid Working Model

While Queen Mary has many resources to support colleagues’ wellbeing, Managers may want to consider how these ideas apply in a hybrid working environment :

  • Encourage conversations within your team about their experience of hybrid working, and start open conversations about mental health. Experiences of hybrid working will vary between staff members; it’s important to check in.

  • Have supportive conversations about flexible working to support staff with caring responsibilities and promote wellbeing. This could be through senior role modelling across your area or department. 

  • Support your team to disconnect from emails and online working outside of their working hours, to ensure they are supporting their work-life balance.  Managers are encouraged to role-model these behaviours.

  • Encourage your team to set boundaries – there is a need to help people to define what a working day is like when working remotely.

  • Consider creating a ‘wellbeing team charter’ that may outline what is reasonable in terms of email traffic and other aspects of work which might help support your team’s wellbeing.

  • Communicate the importance of taking regular self-care breaks to your team.

  • Encourage cameras to be switched on during meetings.

  • Signpost staff to support services like the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) if required.

  • Refer staff to Occupational Health when required.

  • Be vigilant to spot any behaviour that might be out of character for a team member.

  • Ensure that your team members understand the importance of being available and accessible during working hours irrespective of where they are working from.

  • When required, identify and agree how the Service will be covered during periods of annual leave and sickness or other absences especially at peak times to minimise the risk of a particular colleague(s) bearing the workload burden of the team.

  • Initiate informal catch-up meetings if required.

Supporting New Employees to Embed and Engage in a Hybrid Working Mode:-Helpful Tips

The first few days and weeks for a new employee are vital to ensuring that they have a positive experience, engage and are effectively onboarded.

  • Assign a buddy or mentor from within the team to enhance a positive experience for the new employee.

  • Ensure new employees attend the University Wide induction so that they have an orientation into the University and understand the culture.

  • Arrange a local induction on the first day in the office and also have a local induction checklist to share with the employee.

  • Key Introductory meetings should be arranged to enable the employee to connect with internal and external colleagues to the team.

Being Inclusive in a Hybrid Working Model

Ensuring an inclusive working environment is particularly important within the hybrid working model, where team members will be working from a wide range of locations, and will prefer different ways of working. 

Consider these recommendations to support fairness and inclusion:  

  • Be respectful of people's working patterns, and the adjustments that have been agreed with colleagues.

  • Ensure that all members of the team get equal access to new projects, development opportunities, etc. 

  • Be aware that time spent in the office is not an indicator of performance.  Colleagues who spend more time working on-site are not more productive or dedicated than those working remotely, or vice versa.

  • Provide different ways of engaging in meetings: for example, allowing people to use both the Microsoft Teams chat or speech options.  This can be particularly useful for neurodivergent people. 

  • If you’re organising social events for your team (e.g. team lunches), make sure that there is a good balance of virtual and in-person events and that they are planned well in advance.

  • Ensure workload and opportunities are fairly distributed across the team. There is the potential that additional work might fall on those who spend more time in the office, however, some of this work might be development opportunities and this might be deemed unfair.

  • Encourage stakeholders to contact the most appropriate members of the team rather than the ones visible in the office.
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