Welcoming Charu Gorasia to the WIG Board of Trustees

Charu Gorasia is the latest Trustee to join WIG. Charu was appointed Director General, Capabilities and Resources at the Home Office in July 2018. We asked Charu a few questions on why she got on board with WIG, and how she envisions the future for theworkplace of her organisation, and further afield.

What attracted you to becoming a board member for WIG?

For me, the Whitehall and Industry Group is an important organisation that brings together government departments, private sector and third sector.  As someone who has worked across both the private and public sector over the years I find the WIG mission very exciting and wanted to be part of the journey.

Drawing from your unique experiences, what do you hope to bring to the WIG table?

Having sat on Boards of three Whitehall departments I can bring my stewardship experience and knowledge of a range of corporate functions.  I am particularly passionate about collective leadership and would want to help drive this in WIG. 

There's a lot of discussion around future of the workplace at the moment. From your organisation's perspective, what would you consider the biggest challenges and opportunities when it comes to this?

The future of the workplace is certainly key topic at the moment and it offers a range of challenges and opportunities for us at the Home Office. In terms of challenges I would highlight:

  • Managing staff expectations on the pace of the change and what to expect - We adapted very quickly to the new ways of working as a response to the pandemic. The pace of change to set future operating models for the organisation will need a lot of planning whilst building on what we have learnt. 
  • One size doesn’t fit all – We have a diverse organisation with diverse needs. Our future state needs to take into account requirements for different business models and needs of staff in all areas.

And opportunities include:

  • Organisational learning - To harness and embed best practice ways of working and use of technology that have emerged from our response to COVID 19 to maximize the business efficiency
  • Meeting business and staff needs – Adapting our approach will ensure the Home Office remains an employer of choice and our competitiveness in the labour market
  • Empowering our Staff - To create a working environment where our people feel empowered and have greater flexibility and autonomy in how, when and where they work 

What approach will you be taking for the future of the workplace, and what are the key considerations and insights that have formed these decisions?

We need to first consider which model is best for the Home Office as we come out of the Covid experience.  There are a number of potential models including:Workplace Based/ Workplace Centric / Home Centric/ Home Centric Hybrid.  We will make decisions based on insights gained from: 

  • the use of the phased approach we developed for our operations during the pandemic which determined who needed to be in the workplace. who could work from home and the dependencies on enablers
  • The experience we have through operation of an organisation that has wide ranging responsibilities for security and policy and staff located across all parts of the United Kingdom.

What are the immediate next steps for your organisation? Is there a readiness now to action some of the plans?

The immediate next steps are to get ready for Hybrid working.  We are making plans for changing building configurations to accommodate Hybrid working and are making technological changes such as adding additional functionality to Microsoft Teams and rolling out Microsoft Teams to all Home Office i phones to really allow people to be more mobile. We are introducing more collaboration tools such as SharePoint and have created a new knowledge and management information zone which will help create a culture of good information management, collaboration and knowledge sharing.  We are also rolling out desk booking tools across all of our 200 buildings to manage ebb and flow in social distancing requirements.