Hybrid working – Frequently asked questions

From 5 February 2024, we’re changing our approach to hybrid working. Please watch the video here and read through the following FAQs to help you with any questions you may have.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with peoplesupport@carnivalukgroup.com.

Two days a week has been working really well. Why are we changing it?

In 2023, we’ve fallen short of our performance targets and with more stretching targets in 2024 and beyond, we need to work differently to achieve our goals. We need to forge stronger relationships and come together more consistently.

Successful hybrid working means striking the right balance between in person and remote working. Our business results, some of our engagement scores and employee wellbeing trends all point to the need to come together more to harness a sense of community and support each other better.

Why are we stipulating a day when everyone has to be in?

As we’ve experienced with our business updates, a designated day where we all come together helps us to build a sense of community and belonging. Being able to connect in person on the same day means that we can easily plan the discussions, meetings and learning opportunities that are more effective face to face.

It also increases the opportunities for us to connect more informally across the business, helping us to build stronger connections with each other – particularly with colleagues we don’t often work closely with.

What evidence are we basing this decision on?

We’re underperforming on a number of our key performance indicators, including revenue numbers, and guest satisfaction scores. While there are many factors that influence these numbers, they suggest that we’re not working in an optimal way.

We also know from colleague feedback that we need to improve how we collaborate across departments. There are several ways we can improve collaboration, including clear lines of accountability and connected goals.

One way is to spend more time together in person, working through business priorities. We also know that time together in person helps promotes positive mental health and a sense of belonging, which are both really important aspects of our business and our purpose.

What about roles that do not require much collaboration, why does this have to apply to everyone?

We’re striving to build a community that thinks and acts as one Carnival UK team. Every colleague benefits from on the job learning, knowledge sharing, and the contextual awareness that comes from spending time together in person. To create the cultural unity that is so important to who we are, we want to be fair and consistent in our approach.

With the addition of more commuting time, isn’t this going to negatively impact productivity?

In-person work promotes cross-departmental communication, knowledge sharing, a faster exchange of ideas, increased opportunities for development and strengthened relationships. Fundamentally this change is about being more productive, not less.

Is this change a stepping stone towards us being back onsite full time?

No, that’s not the intention. Flexibility around the shape of our working week is a key aspect of what’s we all value about working here. We want to protect and maintain this flexibility as well as be as productive as possible. We believe that this shift will be enough to strengthen our performance as a business.

With the cost of living crisis, why are we asking everyone to incur increased fuel and parking costs?

For all jobs, there is often a cost associated with getting to and from work. With our city centre location, we have fantastic transport links and we’re also exploring greener and cost-effective ways for you to commute to work.

This includes our car parking app, coming soon, which will help us to make the most of the free parking across our three sites. With our flexible working framework, you’ll also be able to flex your working hours so you can plan your commute more easily.

With everyone travelling into Southampton more frequently, how does this impact emissions and our carbon footprint as a company?

We’re continuing to find and successfully implement initiatives within Carnival House to reduce our environmental impact. We hope to have more news to share in this space via The Insider in the future.

How are we going to make sure that we are consistent across business areas?

In trying to strengthen the sense of community at Carnival UK, it’s really important that we’re consistent and unified in our approach and that we each take accountability for spending enough time on site. We may occasionally monitor working patterns to make sure that teams are working in the same way and to help us identify if any further support is needed.

I need a bit of time to sort out arrangements. Can I delay the start of moving to three days a week in the office?

We’re planning to move to our new ways of working on 5 February 2024, so that you have plenty of time to make arrangements. Carnival House has always been your contracted place of work (unless you’re a homeworker or have some other contractual agreement) and so we expect that your personal circumstances allow for you to attend the office when needed.

If there’s a reason why you may struggle to meet this date, please speak to your line manager to discuss your circumstances and they will assess whether we need to make an adjustment for you.

I work in Carnival House as part of the wider Carnival Corporation family. Does this apply to me?

We’d actively encourage you to make use of the fantastic working environment and collaborative and community-building opportunities that Carnival House provides. If you’re being asked to be in the office for 60% of your time, your local management team will share expectations with you.

I am an agency worker or contractor, does this apply to me?

We’d actively encourage you to make use of the fantastic working environment and collaborative and community-building opportunities that Carnival House provides. You and your manager should agree what makes sense for your contract and your circumstances.

I work in one of our contact centres. Does this apply to me?

No – our contact centres won’t be adopting the new hybrid working pattern. The only exception to this is management teams (CUK7 and above), who will be required to follow the new model in line with the rest of the business.

For our Carnival UK CCO, as part of the Transformation Programme, we’ve already defined new, optimised ways of working and the channels, shift patterns and rotations we need in order to enhance our performance and deliver an improved guest experience, and therefore the CCO won’t be adopting the revised hybrid model.

If I’m in CCO or another team for whom the ways of working don’t apply, can I still come to the office on the anchor day?

Absolutely! If you’re in CCO, please check with your line manager beforehand so we can make sure we have desk availability for you.

Wednesday is a non-working day for me, does this mean I have to change my working pattern?

We have no expectation for colleagues to change their formally agreed working pattern. However, in the spirit of flexible working, you may on the odd occasion and with notice, be asked to swap your non-working day in order to carry out your role effectively. If you or someone you manage would like to change their non-working day on an ongoing basis, this should be managed through the formal flexible working process. Please speak to Employee Relations if you’d like any support with these discussions.

Is the expectation that the three days in the office must be full days?

No, Carnival UK believes in the importance of flexible working. As long as it works for business
needs you are still able to travel outside of peak times or get home earlier to be home for school
pick up, for example. We ask that you visit the office on three separate days (two days minimum for part time workers) for a meaningful amount of your day.

If I have been working from somewhere other than Carnival House with a legitimate reason, will I be in trouble because my visits are lower than expected?

The purpose of this report is not to catch you out. If you’ve been working from other locations for
genuine reasons as agreed with your line manager, such as spending time working on a ship, at a
conference or visiting suppliers, then you have nothing to worry about as this is perfectly legitimate.
We also know that there are times when plans change because of domestic emergencies. In these
instances, we would expect that you would have made your line manager aware at the time and
they will be able to explain that. You shouldn’t worry about any instances that were agreed with
your line manager and were a result of actions in good faith.

What should I do in a week that contains a Bank Holiday?

We’re asking that you spend at least three days of your working week (two days minimum for part time workers) in the office or onsite at other location. Carnival House is your main place of work and therefore you should continue to work from the office for three days a week on shorter weeks.

I’m part time, are the number of days I have to be onsite pro-rated?

We would like people to spend 60% of their time or a minimum of two days on site. We recommend
that you spend three days on site if that’s possible, as it’ll help you to stay connected to your
colleagues and feel included in activities taking part in Carnival House.

What if 60% equates to ‘part days’ – do I have to round up or round down?

You and your line manager should agree what makes sense in terms of the requirements of your
role. Just as an individual who works full time may on occasion be asked to work on site for more
than the three-day minimum due to business needs, colleagues working part time also need to be
flexible in line with the needs of the business.

While 60% of your time should be on site, this should never be less than the two-day minimum.

What about emergencies? Eg my boiler broke and won’t make my quota this week?

Life happens and we know that sometimes things happen that will force you to work remotely.
Changes to your plans could impact others, so be open with your manager, your team and keep
others informed. Ideally, as Carnival House is your main place of work, we encourage you to make
up that day by visiting the office more on another week.

What if I’m unwell – can I work remotely rather than on site?

Working remotely isn’t an alternative to sick leave. If you’re not feeling well enough to come into
work and carry out your usual activities, then you need to take time out to rest and recover. You
should speak to your line manager to confirm that you’re unwell and unable to work and your line
manager will log your absence using myHR portal. If you’re well enough to work but could be
infectious, for example after having had symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea or covid then you
should work from home. Please take a look at The Bridge for more information on sickness and absence. If you’re a line manager then click here.

I have caring responsibilities – I’m not sure how this will work for me?

We’re retaining the ability to flex your working hours on any given day, to enable you to plan your
commute around caring commitments, peak travel hours and the need to collaborate with other
brands in the Corporation. Both formal and informal flexible working options are open for you to
explore with your line manager.

What if I was planning to work from Carnival House but my child is unwell? Can I work from home?

In this scenario, as with any other domestic emergency, you’ll need to speak to your Line Manager
and agree how best to manage the day; whether that’s working from home (if you’ve an older child
and feel this is manageable), or whether you should take the day as leave.

If I’m on holiday for two days in a week, do I still need to spend three days a week onsite?

As a minimum, we would like people to spend 3 days a week on site (two days for part time
workers). We recommend you spend three days on site, if days allow, as it’ll help you to stay
connected to your colleagues. We ask that you consider Carnival House to be your main place of

Can I put in a flexible working request to do fewer than three days a week on site?

Unless you were recruited as a homeworker, Carnival House is your contractual place of work. Any
requests to do fewer than three days in the office will need to be clearly linked to a business
outcome and formally agreed in line with the flexible working policy, including Senior Leader
approval. There are tools including a conversation guide, a policy, and a decision tree available in
the Flexible Working section of Ask HR. People Support can help you if you have any policy related

I can’t work from the office on the anchor day because of a specific reason. What do I do?

You’ll need to submit a formal flexible working request. Any requests must be clearly linked to a business outcome and be in line with the flexible working policy.

I have an agreement with my manager that sometimes I only come in one day a week. Does that still stand?

If you have an informal agreement, then you’ll now need to move to the new ways of working. If you have a formal agreement in place, then we have no expectation for you to change this. We do recommend that you and your line manager review this agreement periodically to make sure that it’s right for you and the business.

I live a long way from the office – this change isn’t practical for me in terms of commuting time and/or travel/accommodation costs.

Unless you were recruited as a homeworker, Carnival House is your contractual place of work. Any requests to do fewer than three days in the office will need to be clearly linked to a business outcome and agreed in line with the formal flexible working policy.

Is there enough space for us all to be in on the same day?

We have plenty of room in Carnival House to be able to accommodate everyone. As well as desks, we also have  meeting spaces, informal working spaces, collaboration spaces, pods and more. If we fully utilise the space available, then there’s room for everyone – as we’ve found out on business update days.

We encourage you to make the most of the different types of workspace available, and adjust your location throughout the day to best suit the work you’re doing. This means that desks should be available for colleagues when they need them.

Are we going to be changing the way the office is set up to facilitate more onsite working?

We have plenty of room and different types of workspaces throughout Carnival House to be able to accommodate everyone. We encourage you to make the most of the different types of formal and informal spaces available. As we transition to this new way of working, we’ll learn as we go and make any cost-effective adjustments to the office if needed.

Will I still need to book a desk? What do I do if there aren’t any available?

Desk booking is available and it’s your choice if you’d like to do this. Click here to find out more. Booking in advance means you’ll know that you have a desk on the days that you’re in Carnival House. We encourage you to make the most of the different types of workspace available, and adjust your location throughout the day to best suit the work you’re doing.

How will you monitor this? What if I’m spending time on site in a location that’s not Carnival House, such as on a ship?

It’s important that we’re fair and consistent with our approach and because it’s a critical enabler for performance, the three days on site isn’t optional. We all need to take individual accountability for making sure we spend enough time on site and line managers should be aware of where their team members are working. You should agree your working location with your line manager on an ongoing basis so that they can support you – not just in terms of performance but from a wellbeing, health and safety perspective too.

Where can I store my belongings when working in the office?

There is plenty of common and shared storage (for example, white cupboards) around Carnival House.  If you need personal storage, please contact Facilities here who will allocate a locker to you.

I’ve lost my key and I need to lock my pedestal/cupboard. What do I do?

Please use the key request form on the Facilities page on The Insider here.

I’m immunosuppressed, and I’m worried about the spread of germs in the office. What are you doing to mitigate this?

We have the following measures in place at Carnival House to protect you:

  • Ventilation allowing a circulation of fresh air.
  • Cleaning of Carnival House throughout the day to make sure all surfaces are regularly cleaned.
  • You’ll find hand sanitiser on entry in Reception and on all balconies throughout the building.
  • You’ll also find anti-bacterial wipes located around the building for your use.

If you notice an area of the building that needs cleaning, please get in touch with Reception so they can notify our cleaning team.

I have specific needs about my desk set up and I’m worried about not being able to get a desk that meets my requirements. How can I make sure that my workspace is suitable for me?

We have fewer desks in Carnival House and so there isn’t enough space for everyone to have a dedicated desk. In some circumstances, eg if you need specialist equipment, then you may be able to have a permanent desk. Please speak to your line manager if this is the case.

Someone in my team is on a long term absence (eg maternity/parental leave/long term sickness). What should I do?

As a line manager, you should already be keeping in touch with team members in order to keep them up to date. Please inform them of the changes, providing them with a copy of the video and link to these FAQs if required, as they may not be accessing their work emails regularly.

I’ve indicated to candidates that our hybrid arrangements are two days a week on site. Will I need to update candidates and / or those I have already offered and / or those pending an agreed start date?

Yes, you’ll need to get in touch with any candidates and new hires. The Talent Acquisition team will be in touch with you to provide scripts/template documents to support this process.

For future hires, will they all be expected to work on site on a Wednesday or will there still be some flexibility based on role and business requirements?

We believe that being together in person is important for our collaboration and for feeling like we all belong as part of the Carnival UK community. Our working patterns are designed to be fair and consistent and so future colleagues will also need to work on site three days a week. This should be made clear to any candidates.

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