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The Academy Developing Practice Series: Experiences of Hybrid Practice

Experiences of Working in a Hybrid Environment


Please listen to the following podcast, where our guests discuss their practice, learning and ideas regarding their experiences of working in a hybrid environment.  You will find several resources to help you further explore this theme in the reading list below.

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James Howard is the Director of The Academy at the University of Liverpool.  He supports the University’s strategic objectives for research, education and professional services, through the development of the University’s people and practices. He leads the work of The Academy’s teams and, as a member of the University’s leadership, ensures that staff in all roles, at all levels, can access sector-leading development opportunities.


Claire Marsland is Organisational Development Manager at Plus Dane Housing, a Housing Association based in Cheshire and Merseyside.  Previously, she worked in The Academy at the University of Liverpool implementing two new senior leadership development programmes before joining Plus Dane Housing in summer 2020. She always aims to take a practical approach to OD – something which helps people to grow and supports organisations in their specific context.


Emma Moore is the University’s Director of Careers and Employability. In 2018 Emma re-imagined careers and employability delivery on campus, opening the UK’s first Career Studio – a peer to peer, experiential delivery space run by students, for students empowered by careers professionals. Emma has worked at the University for over 20 years in a variety of different roles. Emma is passionate about students as partners, positive action employability initiatives to improve social mobility and using new tech to enhance employability interactions.


Heather White is a leading international expert on all things Networking, Personal Brand and LinkedIn, and just loves connecting people! Heather believes the hard truth about networking is that if your contacts don’t ‘get’ you they can’t help you.  Networking is about building a strong network of contacts who understand you and are willing to recommend you when the moment arises.  It is also about caring for, and being of service to those in your network.


Billy Mitchell joined the University of Liverpool in 2016 and leads on support for global challenges research and international partnerships.  Helen Carlin is International Partnerships Manager at the University of Liverpool, leading on partnerships in India and the Americas.  Claire Taylor is Gilmour Chair of Spanish and Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Liverpool.   All three colleagues contributed their perspectives on hybrid working at the Making an Impact annual programme in 2021.


Once you have had a chance to listen to the podcast and look at the resources, we encourage you use the following questions to prompt reflection:

  1. James talks about how hybrid working changes our relationship to and assumptions about home, work and the distinction between the two. How we interact with our family, our friends, our colleagues and the spaces in which every day life is played out (including work) has changed.  Can you relate to this and how have you found this change?
  2. Claire feels that hybrid working might give us an opportunity to incorporate all of the other parts of our lives that are important, like caring responsibilities, exercise etc, in a guilt-free way bringing more balance to our lives. Would you agree with this from your experience?
  3. Emma mentions balancing the needs of the individual, the needs of the team and the needs of the institution when it comes to hybrid working – is this possible from your experience? How can you achieve this balance in your practice?
  4. Heather feels she hasn’t seen a negative difference between how she networks and builds relationships in-person and online. Have you found this in your practice?  Can you build the tips she offers to develop productive work relationships in a hybrid environment?
  5. Helen, Claire and Billy detail how they have developed their research / their support of researchers for hybrid working. Do these changes work in your context? What are the opportunities and challenges for your practice?



Liston-Smith, Head of Thought Leadership at Bright Horizons, shares her commentary on the 2021 Modern Family Index Spotlight findings (Full Report included).

In this webinar hear from leading thinkers and employers on what works in managing hybrid working in inclusive high-performance cultures. 

This article states that lockdown meant that adoption of properly flexible practices stalled and asks the question, as lockdown eases, how we can engage a fully flexible model. 

This toolkit includes a range of links for resources that support colleagues who are working at home regarding wellness and mental health.

The Academy’s Developing Practice Podcast is produced by The Academy, University of Liverpool.  The role of the Academy is to promote and enable organisational excellence through the strategic development of the University’s people and practices.  The podcast hosts Matt Davis, Organisational Developer and Alex Owen, Academic Developer are based in the Academy.  To find out more about the work of The Academy click here.


About the authors: Dr Alex Owen is a Senior Academic Developer based in The Academy at the University of Liverpool.  She leads peer learning and teaching development across the broad range of Academy activities designed in response to the strategic educational objectives of the University.  Matt Davis is an Organisational Developer based in The Academy at the University of Liverpool.  He leads on the curation and creation of online staff development activities and enables teams to achieve the strategic aims of the university.