The March 2020 lockdown started just weeks after we had opened our Environmental Sustainability Strategy consultation, in which we set out measures being considered by the Working Group. These included ‘departments to improve the provision of hardware and software to support remote working and participation in meetings’, ‘departments to provide for remote participation at all conferences organised and hosted by the University’ and ‘departments to set a target to reduce paper consumption’.
We could not have foreseen how quickly our lives changed as most staff members were required to work from home and students began learning remotely. With no phasing in, we were forced to adapt quickly and learned to work in different ways, many of which support the aims of this strategy.
The University has set up a project group to develop a New Ways of Working framework to help professional services and support staff teams across the University identify the priorities for more appropriate and flexible ways of working once we return to the ‘new normal’. We will offer input to the emerging Estates Strategy to reduce the University’s carbon footprint and biodiversity impact.
- Introduce policies to support agile working.
- Support the New Ways of Working group with data on the carbon impact of business activities and recommendations for more flexible ways of working and estate efficiency.
- Build on the experience of the pandemic to reduce environmentally damaging travel.
- Reduce the impact of paper use through measures such as follow-me printing, reducing printed handouts to students, encouraging paperless systems, using recycled paper and reporting on paper consumption annually.