Working from home

As the the coronavirus pandemic continues, we are planning for a phased and safe return to campus. In the meantime, staff must continue to work remotely until advised otherwise. This page contains detailed information to help with this, including support with any difficulties staff may find working from home.

We have put together a package of support to ensure staff who are working at home get all the help they need, including: 

  • Our new COPE Framework to help managers and staff agree working principles that work for them.

Read more below on setting yourself up at home, access to campus and how to support new starters.

Staff can currently arrange to collect DSE equipment from buildings as they open. If you are eligible to return to work in these buildings, you will have been contacted directly.

Setting yourself up at home

We appreciate that working at home is not ideal for all of us. To make sure that you’re working in the optimum environment as far as possible, it’s a good idea to follow the guide to setting up your home work station, put together by our Safety, Health and Environment Unit. The HR guide to working from home may also prove useful.

It’s worth remembering that while the University’s insurance extends to home workers, it's important to check with your own home insurer that home working does not invalidate your own policy. University property and equipment continues to be insured while temporarily removed from campus but reasonable precautions should be taken to prevent any loss or damage. Reports of loss or damage, or any insurance-related enquiries, should be directed to our Insurance office:

We want staff to be able to work from home as productively as they can. If you would benefit from additional equipment for your home office, please speak with your line manager. They may be able to arrange a temporary loan of University equipment to support you during this time.

See Access to Campus FAQs below for more information on arranging to come onto campus if you are still working from home.

Our Working at Home Policy (section 5.4) states that employees working from home should be contactable by email/telephone/conferencing software during core working hours, or as agreed with their line manager. Staff should access their University email regularly and, if they do not have a University-provided mobile phone, ensure their office phone is diverted to their home/personal mobile, or provide a personal telephone number for members of their department and other contacts as necessary.

Staff working at home are expected to use University-provided communication channels, such as M365 Teams, to keep additional personal telephone costs to a minimum. Up to £4 per week can be claimed for additional costs - see 5.7 of Policy - where no alternatives are available.

Don’t forget that if you are using your own phone, you will need to make sure it meets the University's security requirements. And if you are accessing sensitive personal data, read these online data security guidelines first.

We understand that some staff may be unable to work due to caring responsibilities associated with coronavirus, such as the temporary closure of their child's school or nursery. If you are unable to work due to caring responsibilities, then you should contact your manager. We are urging line managers to be as constructive and flexible as they can be.

Our focus is on maintaining core services and it may be (particularly if two parents are working from home) that it is possible to rotate caring responsibilities so that you can undertake at least some of your core tasks. If staff are unable to work, please see our updated University Pay Policy related to Covid-19.

Access to campus

Staff must only return to campus when they have received a formal letter from HR advising they are able to do so. 

We are in the process of identifying staff that need to return to work on campus. These staff will receive a letter from HR confirming they have been approved to return to work on campus. Access to University buildings still remains restricted to essential workers and those in priority buildings which have been thoroughly risk assessed.

As part of our phased approach to returning to campus, buildings are opening in sequence once appropriate risk assessments have taken place. You can find out the opening date of University buildings here.

Every building on campus will have a Lead Building Manager, responsible for ensuring socially distancing and maximum occupancy levels are adhered to. You can find out your Lead Building Manager here.

Once a building has reopened, staff can request access via the Lead Building Manager for permission. You will need to fill out the online access request Form A on the Estates webpages.

It will be the Lead Building Manager’s responsibility to ensure that maximum occupancy levels for their areas are not exceeded when authorising access for a member of staff to pick up DSE equipment or other items.

If a building has not yet reopened and staff need to access it, they will need to follow the existing process of completing an access request to the Head of Security (Form B).

Only those people who have received authorisation to be on campus are allowed at this stage. If you have not been advised by your line manager and received a letter from HR confirming that you are allowed back on campus then this means that you will need to continue to work from home for the time being. 

We understand that as the start of the new academic year comes closer, staff may need to come onto campus to prepare for next year; to record lectures, access materials, prepare for some element of online teaching. Any staff who feel that they need to be on campus, but have not been identified for return, should talk to their line manager in the first instance.

New starters

Yes, the University has entered into a contract with the individual and we will do our best to honour this. However if, like most staff, you are working at home and limiting social interaction, our HR team recommends a virtual induction to ensure new starters receive the support, guidance and information they need. Equipment and VPN access can then be arranged to allow your new colleague to work from home.

A right to work check is still required. Temporary measures have, however, been published by the Home Office. You can find guidance on carrying out right to work checks during the Covid-19 outbreak – including for new starters who are self-isolating - on the Staff Immigration webpages. Our HR Immigration team can help untrained staff undertake a document check – email or

They can start employment, but the new employee will need to declare their reason for self-isolation. If it’s due to their own illness, you should record their sickness absence and follow the standard sickness absence procedure. If your new starter has been told to self-isolate for other reasons, you should let HR Operations know. If your new starter cannot commence employment, the start date must be delayed. Please contact your HR Operational Services Coordinator to advise any changes to start dates/employment.

Although we have a valid right to work check, it may not be possible to pay staff who are resident outside of the UK, except where they are contracted to one of our European centres. If the new starter cannot travel to the UK, please email HR Operational Services for guidance.     

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