The future of hybrid working

We have been exploring what the future of work looks like for the University post-pandemic, including how we might retain the positive elements of flexibility we have experienced over the past year.

We know that many colleagues value the flexibility that remote working has offered. We also recognise that many roles have been undertaken efficiently and effectively in a home working environment. However we also know that some colleagues are keen to return to working on campus.

In response to this, we want to build greater elements of flexibility into a wider range of roles – flexibility over when, where and how we work.

We will of course need to balance this flexibility with the needs of the University to ensure we continue to deliver on our vision for education, research and innovation. We must also make sure that our campus remains a vibrant place for our students and staff, and that they continue to get access to support and facilities.

Building on our learnings from the past year, we’ve developed an intended approach for exploring a mixture of campus-based working and remote working. Please find below key dates and principles for hybrid working.

We are of course still learning. We know what campus-based working looks like, and as a result of the pandemic, the majority of us have experienced working from home. What we haven’t yet explored is a mixture of both. So, our approach to and principles for hybrid working will continue to evolve based on our experiences and your feedback.

Read our hybrid working principles

Key dates

We will continue to operate safely and in line with Government guidelines. All of our guidance and risk assessments will continue to evolve in line with the Government roadmap and the key dates of 17 May and 21 June.

Between now and 21 June:

Currently the government guidance remains that if you can work from home, you should continue to do so. However we appreciate that more and more colleagues are wanting to return to campus.

We are therefore using this period to gradually bring more people back to campus at their normal work location, albeit at a reduced capacity and frequency. To do this we are following the same three step process for safe on-campus working that we’ve used for research and teaching activity, based around a building assessment, risk assessment and 20 per cent capacity limits managed locally within individual departments, as well as our Covid-19 returning to campus mandatory training. This is an option open to any member of staff who feels that they would work more productively back on campus or who are struggling to work at home. Please speak to your line manager in the first instance.

Please remember that there is also the option of booking office space at 3 Solly Street (Velocity Building) if you need it – speak to your manager about this.

We strongly recommend that everyone working on campus makes regular use of our Covid-19 Testing Centre or accesses the free twice weekly home covid tests now available to all.

We appreciate that you may feel concerned about coming back onto campus and please be assured that we will continue to be understanding around this as we look to emerge from the pandemic restrictions and as our campus fully re-opens and more people return.

21 June to end of September 2021:

At present we are not clear what, if any, restrictions will remain in place post 21 June but are working on the assumption that most Covid restrictions will be lifted and that the ‘work from home if you can’ message will cease.

However, we are committed to retaining flexibilities and therefore this is also the period where we will explore and test out our hybrid working principles

During this period, we will continue to develop our approach together as we test and learn from new ideas.

We will learn how to adapt to greater flexibility and agility by sharing our experiences and asking questions. We would encourage you to keep having open and honest conversations with your line manager or Head of Department, and they will ensure these are fed into the wider discussion. Colleagues in Human Resources will also be encouraging and supporting managers to run sessions for teams to talk through ideas

We will continue to keep you regularly updated as we go forward. As we develop our approach we'll share ideas and information and produce more resources to support you.

In the future:

What happens going forwards will largely depend on our experiences of hybrid working over the summer. We will look at how hybrid working was deployed, how people adopt the principles, learning what works and what doesn’t and whether we need to change things, including the principles themselves, as we get into the autumn and next academic year.

We will then look at what, if any, formal policy changes are needed, as well as any changes to our estate or investment in IT.

We will also explore options such as a professional services hub in the Arts Tower, bringing together a range of services into a single location. The social sciences building is already being redesigned to accommodate more flexibility and hybrid ways of working to support this programme of work too.