Video message from Interim HR Director Alistair Finlay on our Phasing back to Campus Pathway
WATCH: A video message from Interim HR Director Alistair Finlay on our Phasing back to Campus Pathway, which has been developed in line with the NI Executive Pathway out of Restrictions.
So with the changes in the Northern Ireland Executive pathways and the stages there are, we’re delighted to be able to introduce our stages and pathways to bringing the University back to life.
Currently we’re still at the stage where we’re asking people to stay working at home when they can, but we’ve got to acknowledge all the colleagues who’ve been here all the time, delivering services which can’t be delivered remotely; and that will continue.
And over our first period of change, we’ll probably introduce some additional roles that we categorise as essential in order to get the University back operating and functioning, and looking ahead to when we can welcome students for next year in September and into October. So our transition time is between now and September.
There will be two week gaps between the decisions that we make and the actual implementation of those. So we’ll move through creating some roles maybe being as essential and seeking colleagues to come back on campus to deliver those, to introducing a much more voluntary, flexible return. And then eventually we’ll get to the point, with due notice, of being able to acquire people to come back onto campus and fulfil their roles. For many of those roles, though, there will have to be a rota and staggered; we’ll have to try and provide flexibility, because, in order to keep everyone safe and healthy, we’ve got all the social distancing, one-way routes, mask covering notices, hand sanitiser that we put in last year that are still here. So all the services to keep us safe are here, but it means, some places, not all of the people can be here all of the time. And some of that will be what we can do with your computer and your IT flexibility, and local managers will work this out with you as we go through this.
As we look forward to students coming back onto the campus, and next academic year, our planning assumption for teaching, for the students, is that there will be no social distancing and that we will operate fully face-to-face teaching. But that’s a planning assumption, and the planning behind that will also allow us to move in any particular way in order to ensure that we meet any regulations that are either still in place at that time or are put in place nearer the time, to ensure that we provide the best student experience and keep everybody safe. But we’re very much looking forward to going through those stages, and I really want to thank all of you for all that you’ve been doing, the flexibility you’ve shown over the last months, to keep this place operating remotely, and now we want to bring it back to life and back to what we have enjoyed and the reason we’re here – for the students, the research – and get life back onto the campus. And look forward to that happening in the autumn months of this year, but we start this journey in the next few weeks ahead of us, and we look forward to engaging with you on that.
If you’re looking for additional information, there are Frequently Asked Questions that are on the People and Culture pages, and speak to your line manager and engage in consultation with them. Many have asked us about additional flexibility. We’re working on that and we’ll introduce additional voluntary flexible working type arrangements once the work of the Flexible Working Group is come to more of a conclusion, but that won’t be until the autumn of the year. Currently we just need your flexibility to work with us round about the ability to bring some people back onto campus when they can, and to enable that rota working where it’s appropriate. For some of you that’ll mean you’re here all of the time; for others, more flexibility – it has to be done on a case-by-case basis.
But I really look forward to seeing everybody back here, on the campus, in the weeks ahead.