In order to support managers through the Phasing Back to Campus Pathway, the following Process has been created, and this Guidance explains what is required at each stage.
Review Departmental Risk Assessments
Managers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing, both mental and physical, of their team members, whether those individuals are working on campus, remotely or a combination of both.
All Schools and Directorates should have carried out a Departmental Risk Assessment. This document should now be reviewed and updated to reflect any changes.
On Campus Capacity and IT overview
Where the numbers of staff needed on campus conflict with social distancing requirements, and alternative safe working arrangements cannot be put in place, managers should, in consultation with their staff, consider different working patterns where appropriate, including staggering on campus hours. Managers also need to ensure that an appropriate level of fire warden and first-aid provision is in place for the number of staff within their area.
It is acknowledged that some colleagues may not have the necessary equipment at this time to enable them to split their work between their home and on campus. Colleagues can use their own equipment while working from home and should read the Acceptable Use Policy for more information.
Clarify Team Priorities
As we start planning to phase back to campus, in addition to ensuring that we follow Public Health Guidance, the following three key tests should also be met before a member of staff returns to campus:
- Is it Essential?
- Is it Safe?
- Is it Agreed?
Managers should review work plans and priorities as we make preparations for 1 September, identifying the essential work that needs to be carried out on campus and that which can continue to be done remotely. This will evolve as we move from Phase 2 to 3 of our pathway. Proposals for identifying this work will be made at local level by Heads of School/Directors and approved by the University Operating Board (UOB). A 2-week lead time should be given to staff who are required to return to campus for essential work.
Essential work is typically:
- student facing;
- preparing for the return of students to campus that cannot take place remotely;
- required to support our research activity;
- operational tasks that have to be undertaken on campus.
Identify Individual Circumstances
Managers should discuss plans for phasing back with employees and encourage them to raise questions or concerns.
Where possible, managers should take into account the individual circumstances of each team member to identify any employees who need to continue to work from home in the short term, for example, because they remain vulnerable, have ongoing health conditions or are undertaking caring responsibilities. However, staff should be advised that these circumstances are exceptional and they should seek to return to on-campus work, in line with the relevant Phase within the Pathway, where possible.
Managers should also be aware that, where remote working is proving difficult or challenging for a team member for whom a return to on campus working may be appropriate, this should be accommodated where possible.
The Returning to Work on Campus Manager Checklist, will support managers in planning for a return to work to identify the measures that should be put in place to protect staff and others from the risk of transmission and also for those with caring responsibilities. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) principles have been developed, setting out specific considerations for managers.
Develop a Rota
After completing the steps above managers should be in a position to develop a rota and clearly communicate when employees will work from the office and when they will work from home. Where possible, they should try to ensure that all employees spend some time in the office and some working remotely.
'Return to Campus' e-learning
All staff returning to campus should complete the Returning to Work on Campus v2 eLearning which can be accessed from the Queen's Online homepage. The training outlines the measures that have been put in place by the University to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19 and provides guidance for staff to help make your return to campus as safe and welcoming as possible.
Implementation and Ongoing Review
The rota should then be implemented and managers should review working arrangements with their teams on an ongoing basis.
Escalation Measures if Agreement Cannot be Reached
If the manager and the member of staff cannot agree a phasing back approach the matter may be escalated to the Head of School or Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor or Professional Services Director as appropriate, for a decision on the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, then it may be further escalated to the Director of People and Culture for a final determination. Staff may be accompanied by a colleague or Trade Union representative in these discussions. Ultimately, the University Operating Board (UOB) is responsible for the phasing back pathway and for the identification of essential work.
Deal Promptly with Issues & Manage by Agreement
Managers must act quickly to deal with any concerns, issues or complaints raised by staff either in relation to working remotely or returning to campus. Decisive action must be taken particularly where social distancing or other health and safety arrangements are breached or are at risk of being breached.
Managers should at all times seek to reach agreement with individuals about the tasks to be done and the location for these tasks, taking into account the person’s concerns and recognising there might be a combination of on campus and remote working which may change over time or at short notice. Flexibility and compromise may be needed on both sides to accommodate different working times or schedules as ways of managing some of these issues.